Teens who like action flicks mixed with sword-and-sorcery sagas will delight in the thundering battles and snazzy special effects in "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time."

The film feels like an upscale Saturday morning TV serial. Even devotees of the "Prince of Persia" video games, on which the film is based, will appreciate the added layer of glitz. The intense violence is largely bloodless, so it retains that profitable PG-13 rating. The script mixes modernisms with mythic-sounding lingo, sometimes hilariously. And apparently everyone in ancient Persia had a British accent, including the title character, Dastan, played by Jake Gyllenhaal.

In the prologue we see Dastan as a child - a fearless street urchin who defies the king's guards. The king (Ronald Pickup) admires his bravery and adopts him. We next see the adult Dastan and his adoptive brothers, led by their uncle (Ben Kingsley), laying siege to a holy city suspected of selling weapons to Persia's enemies. Inside the city, a princess, Tamina (Gemma Arterton), must protect a special dagger that can turn back time. After the king is assassinated, Dastan becomes a suspect. He and Tamina flee with the dagger.

The bottom line: This PG-13 is awfully violent for preteens. The sounds of swords clashing and of people being run through with blades and arrows are vivid. There is sexual innuendo, most of it mild, though at one point, Princess Tamina seems in danger of being assaulted by her city's conquerors (Dastan excluded). The narrative gets very convoluted.

Jane Horwitz,

Washington Post

PG-13