Film » Screens

Sand Trap

Prince of Persia is way more fun as a video game

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Movies based on video games have a history of overall suckiness. It doesn’t matter how good or bad the game is; watching flesh-and-blood actors play out the pixilated adventures onscreen just isn’t the same as sitting in your beanbag chair with a controller in your hands and a bag of Cheetos by your side.

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, based on a hit (and occasionally terrific) video-game series that goes back to 1989, doesn’t completely suck. But it isn’t very good either. Jake Gyllenhaal -- with bad hair and an even worse accent -- plays Dastan, a poor orphan plucked from the slum’s rough streets and adopted by a sympathetic king (who’s seemingly impressed by his Persian parkour skills). Gyllenhaal gets to do a lot of stuff Dastan does in the games: scale walls, leap rooftops, and swing into palaces with style. There’s some sibling rivalry, a feisty princess, and lots of intricately choreographed swordplay. And there’s also a to-hell-with-logic plot about a magical, time-shifting dagger. It’s a lot like Pirates of the Caribbean. But with sand. And without much of a story. Or awesome action sequences. Or Johnny Depp. You’ll be longing for your beanbag chair and Cheetos after about 20 minutes.

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