Imagine for a moment that you're Jerry Bruckheimer. You've had a ridiculously successful career. Your biggest triumph is turning an amusement park ride into a billion dollar film franchise. So where do you go next? How about video games? After all, most (if not all) video game to movie adaptations suck. Well, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time isn't a great film, but it is a mildly entertaining diversion.
The razor thin plot involves Jake Gyllenhaall as Dastan, a street kid adopted by the king and taught how to do Parkour and swing a sword with the best of them. When he is wrongly accused of killing his adopted dad by the king's evil brother (Ben Kingsley, who seems to be making a career out of starring in video game adaptations), he must clear his name with the help of a hot princess and a dagger that lets the holder travel back in time. This allows for a lot of sword fighting, jumping off buildings, and a bunch of incredibly quick CGI shots that make things exciting but incredibly confusing.
This movie tries to firmly plant itself in the Douglas Fairbanks swashbuckler tradition, and it succeeds to a certain extent. The film can be a lot of fun (Alfred Molina's character is a hoot). But like a lot of movies today, this film confuses quick cuts and CGI with excitement. Gyllenhaall does his best to live up to the action heroes of old, but brings a little too much moodiness to a character that really needs to be lighter. Prince of Persia is still based on a video game, and a really great game at that. You've got to make things different for us to forget about it. And while there's fun to be had, playing the game would have been a lot more fun.