Thursday, March 14, 2024

Adventure racing movie hits its marks

I’ve often asked myself the following question: If I weren’t reviewing would I bother with this or that movie? When it comes to Arthur the King, a story about adventure racers starring Mark Wahlberg and co-starring an indefatigable mixed-breed dog, the answer probably would be a resounding, “No.” But Wahlberg, who produced, and director Simon Cellan Jones turn out a sports adventure picture built around endurance, courage, and the willingness to take chances. The action sequences — competitors crossing a deep divide while hanging on a wire with mountain bikes strapped to their backs, for example — generate white-knuckle tension. Wahlberg plays Mikael Lindnord, a racer determined to win what will be his last race. He gathers some stalwarts (Simu Liu, Ali Suliman, Nathalie Emmanuel), and it’s off the Dominican Republic. About the dog:  As the adventures unfold, the team meets the dog, eventually dubbed Arthur. A wounded denizen of the streets, Arthur becomes a helpmate and companion to the team, even at one point saving their lives. He follows Mkael wherever he goes. A true story about a Swedish racer has been transferred to the US, but as depicted here, the sport seems to have a definite international flavor.  Focusing on a
dventure racing -- a competition about which most of us know little -- freshens the movie's formula. And, yes, the finale tugs at the heart strings, particularly for dog lovers. So, no, I might not have otherwise sought this one out, but I wasn’t sorry I saw it, either.

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