Sunday, June 27, 2010

Mini Reviews: Prince Of Persia and The Losers

Prince Of Persia: Sands Of Time

Producer extraordinaire Jerry Bruckheimer is at it again teaming up with Disney to bring the video game hero, The Prince Of Persia to life on the silver screen. You know what you’re getting when you go to a family-friendly Jerry Bruckheimer movie, the highest level of adventure, humour, action coupled with exceptional special effects that cost more than could feed a third-world country for several years.

Jake Zodiac Gyllenhall, a bit buffed up and complete with a mane of dirty-looking hair plays the titular hero Destan and embarks on an adventure that sees him parkour his way across the land as a fugitive after discovering a weapon of unimaginable power. His quest teams him up with a feisty princess Tamina [Gemma Clash Of The Titans Artherton bathed in fake tan] a lovable scoundrel Sheik Amar [Alfred Spider-Man 2 Molina] and Amar’s sidekick the giant Seso [Steve Toussaint] – that’s right, you guessed it – it’s Star Wars in Persia, but I’ve no problem with such a wonderfully crafted homage to my religion. Academy Award winner, Sir Ben Kingsley offers up one of his hammiest performances ever as Destan’s Uncle Nizam and really comes into his own during the 2nd half of the movie.

I played the original Prince Of Persia platformer about 20 years ago on a friends computer up until the point where you fight a version of yourself in a mirror or something but the games have evolved into graphical and puzzle masterpieces under Ubisoft’s administrations since then. I’m reliably informed that the Sands of Time game was the best of the lot so far and fitting that it was what was chosen to be adapted. Like many videogame-to-movie conversions it can at time feel like Prince Destan is completing levels of a video game but it’s not as bad as in most other such projects.

I’ve nothing really to add, it’s nothing overly spectacular, the movie follows the usual Bruckheimer formula, no brain required, just sit back and enjoy. Prince Of Persia does exactly what it says on the tin.

Colonel Creedon Verdict: ****

The Losers

There are three somewhat similar movies out this summer concerning a group of “unorthodox soldiers/mercenaries”. The Expendables, The A-Team and The Losers. The latter is probably the least known and from which the least was expected. Based on the Vertigo comic book of the same name, The Losers details the exploits of a special forces team burned by a Max [Jason Speed 2 Patric] a CIA mission handler and left for dead in South America. They must overcome their personal issues, gather resources and make alliances in order to get their revenge on the man who stole their lives.

What pleases me is that if this is the movie from which the least was expected, then the future looks really good for the other two movies. The Losers succeeds more than adequately in what it sets out to do, it doesn’t try to be bigger than it’s boots and is a worthy addition to the genre. The characters, despite being for the most part seriously clichéd, are engaging, due in no small part to good casting. Jeffery Dean Morgan [Watchmen] is Lt.Colonel Franklin Clay a soldier who is taking the betrayal of him and his men by Max fairly personally. Clay enjoys a strained professional relationship with Cpt. Roque [Idris 28 Weeks Later Elba] who is at odds with his C.O.'s decisions. Chris Evans, soon to be Captain America is Jake Jensen the at times hilarious as tech and comms. expert. Cougar Alvarez [Óscar Jaenada] is the ice-cool sniper. 'Pooch' Porteous [Columbus Short] the laid-back pilot rounds out the team who join forces with Aisha, played by Zoe Saldana who has had no shortage of exposure to audiences in the past year appearing in both Star Trek and Avatar, and thankfully she has no shortage of “exposure” in this movie either… Ahem!

Director Sylvain White who had previously directed nothing of note, makes his mark by choreographing some excellent although somewhat far-fetched OTT action scenes and it’ll be interesting to see how Carnahan and Stallone measure up with their A-Team and Expendables soon.

This is another leave-your-brain at home movie which I’ve never had a problem with and I enjoy these kinds of movies more when I do. [I just hope I remember to bring it the night I go to see Nolan’s Inception].

Colonel Creedon Verdict: ****

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