Prince of Persia
(guest review by Angry Man)

Well, I said I would try to type up a review of Prince of Persia, and though they didn't give me much to work with, here it is.....

"I want one of those", was my girlfriends first words upon leaving the theatre, and she wasn't refering to a DVD copy of this sandy claptrap. Apparently Jake Gyllenhaal has some kind of attraction for heterosexual woman, especially when he is flexing his biceps and smiling in his goofy unshaven way. As very little else happens in "Prince of Persia", the studio seems to have targeted a very specific audience.

Lets get straight to the point. The plot of this movie is as threadbare and full of holes as a 2000 year old Persian rug. In brief, Donny Darko, an street urchin adopted by the king for his skills at parkour, bounces into some innocent town along with his brothers and their army looking for weapons of mass destruction or something, capturing both the town and the local hotty. On the way he finds a magic dagger that has the ability to briefly turn back time ( as Donny explains in perhaps the clumsiest piece of self-narration ever captured on film). In a moment of misogyny, Donny's elder brother tells the local hotty (a princess as it turns out) that she has to marry Donny, in order to secure a peace which was already there, had they not invaded the town like a bunch of dicks.

But the princess is also the guardian of the magic dagger, which leads to.... well, nothing really. The bulk of the film consists of them wondering around in the desert for no clear purpose. The daggers batteries have run out, so it doesn't really come into things at all. On the way they meet Doctor Octopus from Spiderman 2, who adds little to the proceedings. It ends with a confusing and poorly explained action set piece, and the bad guy turns out to be the guy you had guessed it was in the first five minutes.

Further adding to the confusion is that these are the most British Persians I have ever seen. Most are recognisable from BBC period dramas or comedies. I almost expected Bill Bailey or Simon Pegg to wonder into shot and order a pint of mild and a packet of crisps.

As you would expect from a movie based on a video game, this is all about action, and on this it delivered. There is a lot of fighting, running and jumping, and most of it is well done. I hate the shaky-cam style action you get in films such as the Bourne series. I like to see fight sequences that are properly choreographed, not just confusing random shots and motion blur. While this is not up to the standard of the best Hong Kong fighting, it was pretty good.

The best thing about this film though is how it looks. Whether it be the broad desert vistas, or the sweeping CGI shots of the cities, it is really quite attractive viewing. The sets and costumes were top notch too. Better than the usual B-grade budget fair. Some of the cities seemed almost "Final Fantasy" to me. They even had chocobo racing! (of sorts).

To sum up, Prince of Persia was much better than I expected. Alas, my expectations were very low. It wasn't awful, but not worth the price of an admission ticket. Wait until it comes to free-to-air TV. On a non-ratings Saturday night when you are home alone and have a choice between this, Speed 2 or some crap with Toms Hanks and Meg Ryan, Give Prince of Persia a look.

Three good things about this movie:

- Lots of fighting, and I could see what was happening.
- I really wanted to wonder around those ancient Persian cities and mess about with stuff.
- If you like good looking guys with great bodies, this could be the movie for you.

Three bad things about this movie:

- The plot, if there was one.
- You know who the bad guy is going to be from the very start. (Hey, you just have to look at the cast list and you can work it out).
- The casting was perfect for a production of Pride and Prejudice, but WAY off for this.

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