It was a battle for the ages: Whose movie would I see over the Memorial Day weekend, the Sex-y ladies’ or SILF Jake Gyllenhaal’s?
Well, I saw Sex and the City 2 (again) on Friday – not ’cause I thought I’d like it more the second time around…I just needed to be mildly amused for three hours – and Gyllen-yum’s Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time today. I didn’t care for it all that much. Its star’s biceps is another story.
Set in the legendary lands of Persia, this adaptation of a videogame strives for Pirates of the Caribbean-like fun, but comes up short. Like Johnny Depp’s franchise, this one, too, is a Jerry Bruckheimer joint, so it’s plenty action-packed and effects-driven, but there’s only so much you can do in the desert, y’ know.
So the focus has to be on the story, which is not all that rich.
Gyllenhaal plays the free-spirited, non-noble-blooded Prince Dastan, a buff and tan hunk with long hair. He was spotted at a market as a child by the king, who adopted him because of his extraordinary exhibit of bravery and generosity – and knack for Parkour – saving a fellow street rat.
All grown up (I’ll say), Dastan and his older brothers get along famously and do battle together. It is on a journey to overtake the holy city of Alamut that his final destiny begins to manifest itself. The princes attack the city, on the recommendation of the king’s brother Nazim (Ben Kingsley), and take it, alright, but not without there being fateful consequences. Worse, they don’t know they’re doing their uncle’s evil bidding.
Dastan, being the adopted son, is scapegoated when the king is murdered, so he partners with the Alamutian princess Tamina (Gemma Arterton, in a role that, if you close your eyes for a second, sounds exactly like the one she played in Clash of the Titans) and escapes prosecution and certain death.
Together, they race against dark forces to clear Dastan’s name, prevent Nazim’s power grab, and safeguard an ancient dagger capable of releasing the fabled Sands of Time, a gift from the gods that can reverse time and allow its possessor to rule the world.
It all sounds so much more exciting than it is, though.
Honestly, the only thing that kept my attention was Gyllenhaals’ physique, not only because it’s ridikolously aspirational but because it entertained. They guy’s leaping from roof to roof, doing battle with swords, riding horses – the heroic works. Except for choice bon mots here or there, all of which were featured in the movie’s trailer, it is up to Jakey’s broad, defined shoulders to bare the weight of a big blockbuster built...on sand.
My Rating **
Photo: Walt Disney Pictures.