Netflix Review: Prince of Persia

Pictured: zero Persian descent

Imagine Indiana Jones meets Pirates of the Caribbean meets The Matrix, and you will have an idea of what to expect out of this movie.  Assuming, of course, you’ve removed any shred of what made those movies spectacular, and had Helen Keller cobble the remnants back together from the cutting room floor with her feet.  This movie was such a piece of garbage that I felt like I was sullying this website’s good name just by giving it a review.  Then I remembered this website doesn’t actually have much of a good name anyway, nor any real credibility, so I felt better.  That, and whiskey.  So much whiskey…

"This movie comes with a 4 drink minimum." -that dude

I don’t know how many years I’ve been saying it, but there needs to be a goddamn academy award for those genius bastards in Hollywood who put together enticingly provocative trailers out of frightenly bad movies (i.e. Max Payne.  Did you SEE that movie??  Shame on you!)  I was pumped on this movie from the get-go, but never got around to seeing it in the theater.  I played the games and they all featured compelling stories, gruesome henchmen, diabolical villains, high flying acrobatics, mesmerizing time travel gameplay, and a bevvy of beautiful, scantily clad exotic women.  I mean, how does that not translate into an awesome movie going experience of epic proportions?  You have to TRY and screw up that formula!

Challenge accepted!

The movie starts off with a tedious voiceover/caption party trying to explain how a 200 year empire spanning over 5 million miles is about to be shoehorned into into a family friendly Disney movie about destiny and battle of good vs. Ben Kingsley.  Honestly the saccharine story of Dastan’s humble street urchin origins plays out like Aladdin raping The Scorpion King.  Stumbling out of the gate, the movie lurches and kicks its way into something resembling plot when the sacred city of Alamut is seiged by the “heroic” Persian army, fully grown Dastan (Jake Gyllenhaal) leading the way with his rag-tag group of special-ops… I don’t know, army delinquents?  Whatever, it doesn’t matter, because after some poorly choreographed Persian parkour on the part of the prince, they take the city and Dastan comes into possession of their most sacred and treasured artifact…

It rhymes with "smagina."

Just kidding, it’s the totally kick ass Dagger of Time!  This dagger can reverse the flow of time for the weilder, and is actually one of the cooler effects that the movie has to offer.  So what do we get to see Dastan do with with his newly aquired hyper-charged, hyper-cool, and hyper-CG’d weapon?  Get his ass handed to him by Princess Tamina (Gemma Arterton).  Like 3 times.  And speaking of Dastan and Tamina, I have literally seen better onscreen chemistry on the overhead projector of a middle school science lab.  I could not have cared less about the “romance” between the sassy, outspoken princess and the brash, rougish prince even if someone had threatened me with a mystical dagger to the balls.  The relationship dynamic is time-tested rom-com fodder, but completely falls flat as these actors stand around, looking like they’re just biding their time until the paycheck clears.

Their multi-million dollar paychecks...

Okay, okay… so the main protagonists are crap.  But what about the supporting cast?  I mean, is that where this film gets a chance to shine?  NO!  Alfred Molina as the sleazy, middle eastern entrepeneur is positively intollerable.  The secret society of sand dwelling assassins is completely unbearable.  And the never-ending drivel about fate/destiny/family is exceptionally insufferable.  Sporadic attempts at throw-away jokes, character development, action sequences are tacked on like a quadrapelegic trying to play “pin the tail on the donkey,” and at some point Ben Kingsley just needs to stop making adventure movies.  But the worst offender of all is the deus ex machina conclusion that makes the Harry Potter books read like the Usual Suspects.

Alternatively: Harry Potter and the Convenient Plot Twist!

The only positive spin I can put on the ending is that I cared so little about this clap trap crew of self deluded thespians that my mind was already so numb I barely felt a thing.

Have you seen the movie?  What did you think about it? Let me know in the comments below!

~Jonny Green

4 thoughts on “Netflix Review: Prince of Persia

  1. Do you know how much I love smagina? Lucky Dastan…

    Seeing as how I watched Max Payne and enjoyed it, maybe I will have a different point of view. You never know. I have PoP lined up on Netflix. I will let you know. As always, beautiful review. I loved the alliteration!

  2. I haven’t seen Prince of Persia, but I watched Max Payne. For chrissakes, casting Mark Wahlberg as a grief-stricken, confused, half-delusional noir detective was probably the worst casting I’ve ever seen in a movie. Couldn’t we have realized that Wahlberg can’t play a serious guy when he was the ONLY weak link in the Departed?

    Also, I don’t have to see this movie to know Jake Gyllenhaal was bad in it. All you see of him in the trailer are his side-along glances and vapid stares into the middle distance. He’s yet to make a movie that I cared about at all, even the sublimely overrated Donnie Darko, where his side-along glances and vapid stares into the middle distance try to persuade the audience that we should care about his ancillary plot device romance with Gretchen.

    To beat a dead horse: You can’t act believably in front of a green screen.

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