Adventure Movies

Arthur the King movie review & film summary (2024)

March 15, 20242 Mins Read

It is really three movies in one, all watchable, but the pieces do not always mesh.  The first and least compelling piece is Michael’s story. He is a restless character, possibly an adrenalin junkie, or just someone with something to prove after being called “the best adventure team racer never to win a championship” by “Man vs. Wild” host Bear Grylls (playing himself off camera). Michael loves his wife and daughter but he does not love working for his former military-turned realtor father. He will not let his legacy be a viral image of his losing team literally stuck in the mud. 

No one wants to sponsor him after his last failure. But with just half of the money he needs, Michael assembles a team: Chick (Ali Suliman), the navigator, who was let go from the championship team for his bad knee, Olivia (Nathalie Emmanuel), the expert free climber and daughter of an ailing former champion, and Leo (Simu Liu), the one who posted that viral mud photo, a social media star who is still angry with Michael over the bad decisions that cost them the prize in the previous race. Michael promises that this time Leo will have a voice in the team’s direction and Lou warns him, “It will be a loud one.”

The second piece of the film is the story of the race, “5-10 days racing the toughest terrain on earth.” With a limited budget, the team cuts back on the crucial on-site preparation time. They arrive just before the race begins, with not enough time to acclimate to the climate. “The first rule is anything can happen,” Michael tells the team, and everyone responds with sports-y pep talk aphorisms like “Whatever it takes” and “We accept it. We embrace it.” 

The first event is a 24-mile trek through the jungle. There’s no set path, so one of the challenges of the sport is to find shortcuts through terrain that is treacherous and uncharted. This part of the film has gorgeous settings (though the racers hardly ever take time to look at them) and very exciting sequences, including a real nail-biter on a fraying zip line. 

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