Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (12A)

Reviewed,Anthony Quinn
Sunday 23 October 2011 03:41

Like Pirates of the Caribbean, the origin of this sword-and-sorcery epic is almost its own disclaimer: "based on a video game".

No surprise to see Jerry Bruckheimer's name up there as producer, though he has recruited a director (Mike Newell) and star (Jake Gyllenhaal) to supply humanity to its cold consumerist heart.

The plot involves an urchin-turned-prince (Gyllenhaal) being framed for his adoptive father's murder and going on the run with a feisty princess (Gemma Arterton) through the desert. Their mission: to safeguard an ancient dagger that contains the power to reverse time. Should this fall into the wrong hands, it could be turned into – aaagh! – a weapon of mass destruction. Prince of Persia resurrects a few bygones itself, mostly the derring-do of Raiders and Pirates, though in Gyllenhaal it has rebooted the hero for 21st-century tastes: muscled upper body, running-and-jumping skills à la Bourne and, weirdly, an Estuary accent. (It presumably tested well on research). Alfred Molina injects a little comedy as a corruptible trader with a thing for ostrich racing, while Ben Kingsley goes heavy on the eye-liner as a royal uncle.

"This won't be the last time we'll be together," says Jake to Gemma, the special effects thundering around them. I think that means we should expect a sequel.

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