Adventure Movies

Arthur the King Review | A Solid but Often Cheesy True Story Adventure

March 17, 20245 Mins Read


  • Arthur the King
    is a wholesome, tear-jerking adventure film that showcases the unbreakable bond between a racer and his furry companion.
  • Don’t be fooled by the cheesy trailer; while it certainly relies on melodramatic ‘dog movie’ tropes, it’s not as cheesy as it could be.
  • While not groundbreaking, the movie provides a feel-good experience perfect for families and fans of canine companions on the big screen.

In our recent interview with Oscar-nominated actor Mark Wahlberg, he dubbed his new project Arthur the King a “big, four-quadrant movie.” There is certainly a case to be made for said claim, and don’t be surprised if Arthur the King makes at least an adequate profit at the box office. After all, the previous Wahlberg collaboration with director Simon Cellan Jones, aka The Family Plan, shattered Apple TV+ streaming records. The two actually teamed up for Arthur the King first, an entirely different kind of movie but with that same family-like feel to it. It’s now being released in theaters.

It’s pretty safe, kid-friendly content on that note, and not very boundary-pushing material — especially in comparison to early Wahlberg hits like Boogie Nights and I Heart Huckabees. Wahlberg has faced controversy over the years, especially after last year’s SAG Awards when his past resurfaced, so it seems fitting that (with Father Stu) a trio of crowd-pleasers might help ease him back into the spotlight. Well played, publicists, well played.

Formulaic Heroism — But Sometimes That’s OK

Arthur the King

Arthur the King


Release Date
March 15, 2024

Simon Cellan Jones

Lions Gate Films, Tucker Tooley Entertainment


  • Ukai gives an indredible canine performance as Arthur.
  • A solid tear-jerker with great athleticism and adventure scenes.

  • Occasionally is reduced to the cheesiest melodramatic tropes.

someone like Mikael Lindnord (played by Wahlberg) on the big screen. “This is my last chance to win,” he tells his wife (Nathalie Emmanuel) in the first act, as he gears up for one last chance at an adventure-racing world championship. The opening sequence shows him failing, with trash-talking teammate Leo (Simu Liu) blaming the stubborn Mikael for their loss. Much to Mikael’s chagrin, he must approach Leo to help with the following year’s next attempt at the coveted trophy.

Simu Liu, fresh off his Barbie turn as one of the Kens alongside Ryan Gosling, doesn’t exactly up his acting game with this role, but fans of his good looks will surely enjoy seeing him in action here. And on that note, the gorgeous Nathalie Emmanuel (Game of Thrones) is also part of the team, offering a reliably solid turn as an aspiring athlete motivated by her ailing father.

Once the ragtag team is assembled, they head to Ecuador to ready for the big race — and by “big,” we mean “200 miles” big. For those not familiar, adventure racing is a mix of running, mountain climbing, biking, ziplining, and more.

And on that note, perhaps the most gripping scene is a terrifying zipline ordeal where the rig malfunctions while a couple of racers (Mikael included) are suspended 500 feet in the air. There will be gasps and shrieks inside your movie theater; it’s quite cool seeing the calm and collected Mikael help rescue his teammate during this tense sequence. If only Arthur the King contained more of these thrills — but that’s where the loving canine enters the picture to save the day, in more ways than one…

Don’t Be Afraid to Shed a Tear in Arthur the King

The lovable Ukai plays the dog Arthur here, and he’s a marvel on-screen alongside Wahlberg and company as the team races to the finish line; this is really one of the best performances from a canine in recent history. Sure, there are a few overtly cheesy moments with the dog that might just make the average cinephile cringe, but for the most part, it’s endearing to see a courageous furry friend on the big screen.

No, this isn’t a talking-dog movie, thank goodness. But the film’s promotional trailer, if you’ve seen it, doesn’t exactly do the end result justice — between the upbeat Macklemore track and the cheesy lines that the trailer clips, you might watch the promo material and go, “Oof, one of these movies?”

But fortunately it doesn’t lean into said cheesiness too much, and you’ll probably end up shedding a tear or two during the climactic third act. The actual race is just the tip of the iceberg, as Mikael then pushes to save his ailing new furry friend, who has clearly been through the ringer before stumbling upon the adventure racing squad. It’s heartwarming stuff seeing Mikael sleep outside on the street with Arthur, since they soon learn that the street is the only place the dog feels safe relaxing.


The Best Dog Movies of All Time

Picking our favorite dogs would be too hard, so we ranked the best dog movies instead.

These moments of Mikael thinking hard about Arthur’s well-being may remind one of Clint Eastwood’s film Invictus, where Matt Damon’s rugby player stays up at night thinking hard about something — at first, we think it’s his upcoming rugby match, but instead, he’s thinking about Nelson Mandela’s incredible journey across a country that once betrayed him. Similarly, Wahlberg’s Mikael no longer cares so much about winning his adventure race, but rather ensuring his new furry pal stays alive and healthy.

Sure, the other subplots involving other team members are forgettable, and certain sad-dog close-ups might make you eye-roll, but overall, Arthur the King is a must-see for athletic diehards and, of course, dog lovers everywhere.

From Lionsgate, Arthur the King hit theaters March 15th, 2024. You can meet the dog who plays Arthur in the video below:

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