- Running time:
- 116 minutes
- Jake Gyllenhaal -
- Gemma Arterton -
- Ben Kingsley -
- Alfred Molina -
- Sheikh Amar
- Steve Toussaint -
As a child, Dastan (Jake Gyllenhaal) is randomly plucked from life as a street urchin and raised as a prince of Persia. Years later he leads an attack on the peaceful holy city of Alamut and is praised as a hero, until he’s framed for his father’s murder. In an effort to clear his name, Dastan goes on the run with Alamut’s beautiful princess Tamina (Gemma Arterton, fighting the material and sometimes winning) and a mysterious dagger containing powerful sands that can literally turn back time.
The buzz: Disney and producer Jerry Bruckheimer are doing all they can to let audiences know they’re responsible for “Pirates of the Caribbean,” in hopes some of that franchise’s adventure-loving fanbase will give this video game adaptation a shot. The involvement of workmanlike British director Mike Newell doesn’t bode well, since his “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” was one of that series’ sleepiest and silliest installments. So far, “Persia” has received more attention for its lack of authentic ethnic casting than anything else.
The verdict: No, Jake Gyllenhaal isn’t Persian. But that’s not as big a problem as how poorly suited he is for the role of an innately charismatic action hero. He has the looks, and he’s demonstrated fine acting chops in the past, but as a performer he’s too blank to flesh out a character that’s barely a sketch on the page. Not that Gyllenhaal is the only thing that goes wrong in this lumbering, convoluted and ultimately boring spectacle. If “Robin Hood” was the summer’s snoozy epic for adults, this is the amped-up but dumbed-down teen boy counterpart. Built on nothing but a vaguely recognizable title and wishful thinking that that’s enough for a franchise, “Persia” deserves the same box office indifference that greeted “Speed Racer,” “King Arthur,” “Kingdom of Heaven” and similar wannabe-blockbuster duds.
Did you know? Looking for actors of indeterminate ethnicity? Try Hollywood’s go-to guys Ben Kingsley and Alfred Molina, who both waste their talents here in humdrum roles created for character actors in search of a quick paycheck.
Movie theaters and showtimes for Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time in Cincinnati.
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