A kind and bold example of how no career is sacred, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is both an exploration of how dull Jake Gyllenhaal is as a lead and how unintrusive the work of director Mike Newell is. The pair have had success separately, but it appears that, like most hoping to take on video game projects, they were doomed to failure. Rightly so. Who cares for Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time? It’s like holding out hopes on an emotional connection with an egg timer. The House of Mouse tanks another adventure-themed feature and shamefully so. The scope and finesse of the larger scenes and the genuine awe Newell can create here is a sad and irredeemable waste.
A blessing in disguise to see that the coronavirus pandemic had delayed The King’s Man from ever releasing properly. It was a sign of just how poor the quality of this latest Matthew Vaughn-directed piece was. It was not dumped online, so the faith producers had in this one to do well at the cinemas was either a misguided shakedown or a bit of tough love to throw at audiences just returning to the big screen. Either way, the dwindling quality of the Kingsman franchise has the enviable consistency that makes it simple to chart. The newer the release, the worse it is. That much can be said for the lifeless but mildly entertaining romps to be had with The King’s Man, a feature that, like the predecessors, relies on the big cast and the bigger events they find themselves thrown into.
Tongue-in-cheek does not quite work alongside murderous intentions. The Voices stumbles over that right out of the gate. As Jerry Hickfang (Ryan Reynolds) stuffs almost an entire slice of pepperoni pizza into his mouth, we are meant to chuckle lightly. The camera lingers there for more time than necessary. Hickfang is similar to that of a gerbil, nibbling away with bite after bite. Reynolds’ patented brand of humour falls on deaf ears once again. His puppy dog eyes can only carry him so far, and if it carried him any further than mediocrity, then colour me impressed. His role as a psychotic, accidental serial killer is ripe for his brand of entertainment but does not prevail for one crucial reason…
I’ve come to expect very little from films set on the isles of Britain in its patriotic period of keeping calm and carrying on. They’re rarely that entertaining, and feel more like they should be deposited onto BBC Two on a lazy Sunday evening. Their Finest reminded me wholly of that, a separate Gemma Arterton-led movie from only a few years ago. Finding her niche in stories set at a time of war, Summerland is her latest offering, a film that attempts to depict the evacuation process during the height of the Second World War, but also mix in some romantic angles, witchcraft, and the many adjustments and horrors those in war had to carry themselves through.