Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on May 2010
In an imagined ancient Persia, a plucky street urchin is adopted by the king and raised as a prince, to eventually become a buffed-up, acrobatic Jake Gyllenhaal. (Jake, Jake, Jake. You’re an exceptional actor. You don’t have to do this moronic Matthew McConaughey-level stuff. Not even to round out the old resume. And what’s with the English accent?) The title refers to the film’s macguffin, a dagger that releases magic sand that can reverse time, kind of like “REW” on a TV remote, giving its possessor the opportunity to right wrongs (or, of course, to wrong rights if you’re the villain). A paycheck-collecting Ben Kingsley provides the menace as a resentful brother/advisor to the king, human chameleon Alfred Molina provides the film’s few laughs as a conniving ostrich-race promoter, and Gemma Arterton (a gets-killed-early Bond Girl in Quantum of Solace) sets a new standard for heroine inertness (to be fair, she has the thankless task of shouldering most of the exposition). Overall, it’s about what you’d expect from a Disney/Bruckheimer effort based on a video game and aimed at 10-year-olds. It’s like watching only the Orlando Bloom parts of Pirates of the Caribbean.