Based on the video game series created by Jordan Mechner, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time begins with Dastan (William Foster) as an orphaned boy being rescued in the marketplace by King Sharaman (Ronald Pickup).
The king adopts him and he is raised as a prince (Jake Gyllenhaal) along with the king's real sons, Tus (Richard Coyle) and Garsiv (Toby Kebbell). Nizam (Ben Kingsley), the kings' brother, becomes Dastan's closest confidante. There must always be a beautiful princess, so enter Tamina (Gemma Arterton), ruler of the neighbouring kingdom of Alamut, which Tus has been forbidden by his father to invade. Nizam, however, has convinced Tus that these religious people are hording a cache of WMDs, a.k.a. swords, knives, etc., and they must be attacked. As it turns out, he's really after a holy dagger that holds the 'Sands of Time", capable of turning back time and allowing whomever possesses the dagger to rule the world.
The plot is a whole lot of nonsense that only occasionally makes sense. Where the film delivers is in some impressive action scenes and the confirmation, with the introduction of the Alfred Molina character, that"s really just out to have fun. Director Mike Newell toes the line of staging some entertaining adventure scenes while simultaneously keeping the spirit of the video game alive. Effective comic relief comes as the hand of Molina, who has some of the better comedic dialogue and delivery. The action is aplenty and the visual effects are serviceable, if underwhelming.
Jake Gyllenhaal doesn"t make for a very engaging hero and probably has the worst accent since Nicholas Cage in Con Air. On the bright side, he has bulked up and the stone-faced image actually plays into the film"s hands. Gemma Arterton of Quantum of Solace fame, makes for an attractive princess but as a foil for Dastan she"s not quite up to snuff. Sir Ben Kingsley is excellent as usual. Alfred Molina is the show-stopper in every scene he appears.
With a light tone and fast-paced action, the film succeeds at what it"s going for and passes the muster as a cool entertainer in this scorching summer. Do give it a try if you have nothing else to do.
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Gemma Arterton, Ben Kingsley
Director: Mike Newell