film reel image

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Thursday, April 4, 2024

Arthur the King 2024 * * * Stars


2024's Arthur the King is yet another told tale about a man and his dog (or would-be dog). In other words, it's star Mark Wahlberg doing what he said in a recent interview, which is only concentrating on family-friendly flicks, made probably for his own FAM. I mean some of his recent stuff I could do without (Me Time, The Family Plan, really?) but Arthur the King is a keeper, a tear-wringer that kind of wrings true (literally). "We keep going. That makes all the difference." Yeah you tell 'em Marky Mark. 

Now do I think "King's" non-fiction plot thread about adventure racing over 400 miles in cruddy terrain is plausible in terms of its character's superhuman actions? Not exactly but I guess it did happen. Maybe the truth was uh, you know, inclined (no pun intended). And did a Border Collie mutt really follow real-life Micheal Light (Mark Wahlberg) and his racing buds through the near-entirety over some long-arse trek? In my heart I can't be certain but as they say in Hollywood, "it's only a movie", give in to the hokiest of navigation and the sentimental goo. 

Made on a smaller budget but you wouldn't know it (the lush locales of the Dominican Republic go a long way on $19 million dollars) and shot MTV-style but you won't really mind it (I wanted to yell "extreme!!" at the screen, for reals), Arthur the King hits the ground running as it packs an emotional wallop (pun intended). 

Cinematic manipulation and tear duct exploiting aside, "King" is uplifting, on edge, and gladdening, shot and edited lightening-quick by Brit director Simon Cellan Jones (The One and Only, Some Voices). This film is part human drama, part American Flyers fluff, part Road Rules ruckus, and mostly down at heel canine. "King" of arms. 

Written by Jesse Burleson

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