I would say that producer Jerry Bruckheimer is nuts for making a big-budget summer flick based on a video game, but he did successfully spin a theme-park ride into the "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise.

I would say that producer Jerry Bruckheimer is nuts for making a big-budget summer flick based on a video game, but he did successfully spin a theme-park ride into the "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise.

"Prince of Persia" is far less successful and way less fun. It's slogging and sandy and in desperate need of a sense of humor and added swashbuckling.

Jake Gyllenhaal stars as Dastan, former street-urchin and present prince of, um, Persia. Wrongly accused of murdering his adoptive father (with a poison cloak!), he ends up on the lam with a beautiful princess (Gemma Arterton) from a neighboring city.

Key to their adventures is a magical dagger that allows the user to make time briefly run backwards. It's like a cheat code brought to life.

Despite Bruckheimer's signature shlock and the video-game basis, I was hoping for fun popcorn action flick. Instead I got a lot of pontificating about a magic dagger and an overload of mostly unimpressive CGI.

Gyllenhaal is downright leaden in the lead, and other talented actors (Ben Kingsley, Alfred Molina) don't fare much better. Arterton is mostly there to look pretty and explain the intricate plot (although she's quite good at both).

There are a few thrills in the sort of aerial gymnastics and narrow escapes seen in the game, but overall it's pretty much a big swirling sandstorm of "meh."