A period action movie that has an interesting plot and a hunky guy with chiseled abs? What's not to like?
Okay, so that's not really a review. Let me start again. Jake Gyllenhaal takes a break from brooding, independent films to try his hand at the action genre and he does a decent job. He's Dastan,the adopted son of the Persian king. Raised on the streets until being noticed by the king, he grows up continuing that street tough persona--fighting dirty, lax in his responsibilities, smirking at everyone he looks at. When he helps his brothers invade a holy city (against his better judgment), he comes into possession of a mystical dagger that holds within it the sands of time and can be used to turn back time. Gemma Arteton (from "Lost in Austen" and "Clash of the Titans") plays Tamina, guardian of the dagger.
After being framed for his father's murder, Dastan must go on the run--with Tamina and the dagger, of course--until he can figure out who set him up and who is after the dagger. Is it his brother who inherited their father's crown? Is it their uncle who is a trusted advisor to them all? Along the way, they run into plenty of action in the way of ancient assassins, desert thugs and even ostrich races. Alfred Molina appears to be having a great time with some comic relief and Ben Kingsley looks suitably questionable with his black eyeliner-rimmed eyes.
There's a lot of action, a lot of killing of bad guys (but surprisingly little blood). If you really try hard, I'm sure you can come up with a lesson here. Something along the lines of trust your heart and trust your family, I suppose. But really, the movie is just junk food for your brain, why spoil the fun? (***)