Picture of Derrick Dunn

Derrick Dunn

Arthur The King is a royally entreating crowd pleaser

Following last year’s action comedy “The Family Plan,” Mark Wahlberg is teaming up again with director Simon Cellan Jones for a heartwarming true story titled “Arthur The King.” Lionsgate is releasing the movie with Michael Brandt as the screenwriter. The screenplay is based on the book “Arthur: The Dog Who Crossed the Jungle to Find a Home” by Mikael Lindnord.

After a devastating loss, adventure racer Michael Knight, played by Wahlberg, finds himself stuck in Suburbia working for his father. However, with the encouragement of his wife and a desperate desire to win one last time, Knight convinces a sponsor to back him and forms a team of athletes. His team includes former ally turned social media sensation Leo, portrayed by Simu Liu, navigator Chin, played by Ali Suliman, and recruit and rock climbing expert Olivia, portrayed by Nathalie Emmanuel Together, they embark on a mission to participate in the Adventure Racing World Championship in the Dominican Republic. Throughout the intense race, the team is pushed to their limits of endurance. Along the way, they meet a stray dog named Arthur, who joins them on their journey. Together, they redefine what victory, loyalty, and friendship genuinely mean.

Upon entering “Arthur The King,” I was unsure what to expect. I had not previously been exposed to any trailers for the film, nor was I acquainted with the true story of the book on which the screenplay is based. Despite this, as a fan of Mark Wahlberg, I approached the screening with an open mind and was eager to see what the film had to offer. One of the first things to consider with the film is that some changes were made. Mikael Lindnord met Arthur while competing on a Swedish team during the 2014 Adventure Racing World Championship in Ecuador. Michael, the film’s American character, whom Wahlberg plays and is based on Lindnord, competes in dramatizing the Adventure Racing World Championship, which the filmmakers set in 2018 in the Dominican Republic.)

“Arthur The King” is the perfect crowd-pleasing film for Wahlberg’s everyman persona. When we meet Michael, the time has passed since his last unclaimed victory, but Wahlberg’s eyes and body language reveal a man with some fight left in him. The script doesn’t waste time giving us a clichéd reason for the race, but instead, a wife supporting his dream without reservation. 

The film contains several clichés during Michael’s team recruitment, which Wahlberg’s charm helps to remedy. Despite numerous instances where the film appeared poised to overdo the sports film tropes, the creative team behind the project remained focused on crafting an old-fashioned crowd-pleaser. Their efforts were successful in this regard. Although the supporting cast does not have significant roles, their genuine camaraderie is evident. Therefore, elaborate backstories for each character are not necessary.

As for the pup, canine lovers will be pleased. When Arthur first meets the team, it is clear that his journey has been arduous. He is covered in dirt, famished, and severely injured. However, like Michael, his determination to succeed remains undaunted. The filmmakers are to be commended for using camera angles during the scene where the dog joins the team.

While the film won’t win any big awards or warrant numerous repeat viewings, “Arthur The King” easily crosses the finish line as crowd-pleasing entertainment.

Final Grade: B+

“Arthur The King” opens in theaters today.

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