Jerry Bruckheimer’s latest stab at creating another blockbuster fantasy film franchise has all the key ingredients: an authentic pop culture phenomenon (the Prince Of Persia game series), an unconventional lead (Jake Gyllenhaal) and heroic derring-do in the Raiders mould.
What’s lacking is the Depp factor – a sliver of warped, off-kilter genius that would make Mike Newell’s dusty actioner feel genuinely special instead of just generally efficient.
What it does have is a dash of geopolitical satire, the plot being set in motion by an engineered invasion of a city state wrongly thought to be concealing WMDs.
But once Gyllenhaal’s banished prince gets his mitts on the flick’s USP (a mystical dagger that can turn back time), things settle into a more generic groove, Newell ticking off game levels one at a time.
Buffed-up and long-tressed, Jake brings enough swagger to his role to compensate for a dodgy English accent you suspect he based on drivers that took him to and from Pinewood.
Gemma Arterton, meanwhile, makes a more spirited foil as the knife’s regal guardian than she did as Clash Of The Titans’ Io. Yet for all its craft, opulence and epic scale, Persia still ends up being a bit of a slog.
Who knows? Maybe more of Alfred Molina’s wily ostrich racer might have done the trick. With just one 15-minute Making Of on the DVD, the Blu-ray represents a better deal with its deleted scene, mini-featurettes and CineExplore function.