Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
The name says it all...

Dastan, the Prince's name in this movie means "Champion" or "Hero" in Farsi.

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is based on the popular video game series that is currently developed by Ubisoft. The fact that this is a film adaptation of a video game probably sends shivers down your spine but don't be so quick to judge. While the film is loosely based on the 2003 game by the same name, it actually takes elements from its sequels and even the 2008 reboot as well.

Once a poor street rat in the Persian Empire, Dastan (Jake Gyllenhaal) was taken up by the king and adopted into the royal family. After conquering one of the holy cities with his two brothers, Prince Dastan comes across a mysterious dagger that has the ability to rewind time for its user and alter the events of the future. With the help of Princess Tamina (Gemma Arterton), the guardian of the dagger, he must put an to a plot to overthrow the king, set up by the villainous Nizam (Ben Kingsley).

If you're at all familiar with the games, then you should be accustomed to the film. One of the main features of the game was its parkour-type elements such as wall running, flips, and other deft defying acrobatics. This just so happens to be the main selling aspects of the film as well. David Belle, one of the founders of the art, was actually the parkour coordinator for the film to so everything you see is real. The stunts are nothing short of amazing and are taken directly from the game in some cases.

As for the story, that's completely different. Much of it was created specifically for the film but for the most part, it fits the Prince of Persia series. The dagger is clearly from Sands of Time. The Prince also looks vaguely similar to the Dark Prince from The Two Thrones when using its time shifting abilities. Then there's the whole Dastan/Tamina team that reminds us of Elika and the Prince from the more recent reboot. I think there's enough content in the film to satisfy both fans of the series and newcomers alike.

Still, even as good as the action is, there are some problems. Even before its release, there were complaints about how a Prince of Persia was being portrayed by Gyllenhaal, a white man. Honestly, this doesn't bother me at all. What does bother me is the fact that he speaks with a notably British accent. It feels forced and doesn't fit him or his character at all. With Ben Kingsley, it sounds alright, but with Gylenhaal, it just doesn't work. The film would have been much better if there was less talking and more parkouring.

Prince of Persia is far from perfect but it is enjoyable and puts to rest the stereotype that all video game films are horrible. You can thank Uwe Boll for that one. The action is good and the story is decent, but the dialogue and acting could have been ramped up a bit. If you enjoy the games, you'll probably enjoy the movie.

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Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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