Often, a video game is based on a movie. Less often does the reverse occur, when a movie is based on a video game. So far, there has been no movie based on a game that has been overly successful, but will Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time be the movie to break the trend? (Let me give you a hint. It's not.)
The movie gets off to a bad start when it opens with a sunrise and provides the audience with a series of vague statements written in fancy text that I suppose the writer thought would constitute a theme. "Two people share one destiny." Yeah, like we haven't heard that one before. Being based on a video game, the first parkour sequence just feels like a tutorial to what we will be seeing later in the film. Some flipping, jumping, and a lot of sword clanging. I forgot to mention the fast cuts, of which there are many.
In fact, there are so many quick cuts in the action scenes that it is impossible to know who is fighting, let alone what is happening. This is obviously a cheap way to make a few sweeping motions look like a fully fledged action sequence. "Well," you might think, "so the action is bad, how about the story?"
Nah, the story is awful too. It is comprised of a series of increasingly confounding info dumps. It makes sense that this would happen, though, seeing as video games works like that. An in game character explains what you should expect in the next level. The same is true for this film. One line of dialogue goes like this: "The room is guarded by some sort of demon...covered in spikes." Sounds like a pretty fun boss battle to me, but not a fun scene. It wasn't, by the way, a fun scene, just if you were wondering.
Now to the performances, most of which were atrocious. Jake Gyllenhaal has the lead here, and he is obviously doing it just to make some bank. I have enjoyed other Gyllenhaal performances in the past, namely Donnie Darko and to a lesser extent October Sky. He doesn't really fit in this role, however, except to give this film a bit of star power, and not the good kind of star power like in Guitar Hero. Gemma Arterton as "Generic Love Interest #2" gives the most stone faced and unemotional performance I have seen since "Zordon" of Power Rangers.
Anybody like thinly veiled analogies for our nations involvement in Iraq? Didn't think so. A main part of the plot in this film is that an attack was made on a civilization based on false information that weapons were being stored there. Sounds slightly familiar.
Don't watch this movie.