Review: “Arthur the King” follows a tough path to atonement but ends with a well-trained tail of camaraderie.

By Gita Samanta Mar17,2024
Review: "Arthur the King" follows a tough path to atonement but ends with a well-trained tail of camaraderie.Review: "Arthur the King" follows a tough path to atonement but ends with a well-trained tail of camaraderie.

This tale of tenacity, suffering, and redemption via physical hardships fits Wahlberg’s contemporary paradigm perfectly. The actress is a committed Catholic who wakes up at three in the morning to pray and work out. The story of spiritual salvation through physical suffering is shown in his 2022 film “Father Stu,” in which he plays a Catholic priest who survives a motorcycle accident and is rendered crippled by a degenerative muscular condition. This film explores a darker aspect of the themes explored in “Arthur the King.”

However, it’s clear that Wahlberg enjoys this kind of material because of how much time his character, Michael Light, spends in the movie praising the merits of suffering while racing.

Swapping the race from Ecuador to the Dominican Republic (where the film was filmed on location) and the setting from Sweden to Colorado, Wahlberg plays a broken-hearted adventure racer who has never been a good team member. In an attempt to redeem himself, he assembles a squad for the adventure-racing world championships, which includes Leo (Simu Liu), an ex-teammate turned influencer, Olivia (Nathalie Emmanuel), and Chik (Ali Suliman), an old competitor.

Over the course of several days, athletes will have to run, hike, cycle, climb, and kayak hundreds of kilometers of rugged terrain in order to reach the finish line.

Los Angeles, CA – November 15: On Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2023, in Los Angeles, CA, the whole cast of Dog Man: The Musical rehearses at Kirk Douglas Theater. (Source: Los Angeles Times / Michael Blackshire)
Nov. 28, 2023: The musical “Dog Man” delivers happiness to Kirk Douglas Theatre, along with a dose of clean humor.

Sportsmen trail behind a canine.

Ali Suliman, Mark Wahlberg, Simu Liu, and Nathalie Emmanuel, from left, in the motion picture “Arthur the King.” (Lionsgate/Carlos Rodriguez)
The suffering of a malnourished and injured stray dog from Santo Domingo who is living on the streets is intercut with the race preparation. The dog becomes the team’s motivator and mascot when Michael throws him a meatball during a race transition rest. The dog then begins to follow the crew through ocean paddles, river crossings, and rainforest downpours. He even has his share of Lassie moments, alerting the squad to potential threats as they arise. Because of his regal, austere manner, they call him Arthur.

TV ads reassure viewers not to worry, acknowledging that they may be concerned about the dog’s future. They say, “We know what you may be thinking.” However, be warned that the title star has some sensitive life-and-death situations. This is not a spoiler alert. Despite this, it’s an incredibly powerful, heartwarming, and inspirational family movie, particularly for fans of dogs and Wahlberg—the actor giving a physically demanding performance in which character shines. The actor is a perfect fit for this film and its plot, and the supporting cast is equally capable of handling the role, despite the fact that they will eventually be collaborating with Ukai, a gifted scene-stealer who does, I believe, 90% of the work.

The film is infused with vibrant, handheld cinematography by Jacques Jouffret, which gives it a more adult, action-oriented feel. The heartwarming dog fare is fairly standard, often treacly, and reminds viewers of other adventurous pups in TV and film like Rin Tin Tin and Benji. However, one CGI shot of Arthur should have been reconsidered given the gritty aesthetic of the film.

Wahlberg’s purpose in life may be suffering, but this is a happier and lighter side of him; he obviously likes the intense physicality of the role, even though the emotional range fits perfectly with his well-known star persona. It will also be hard to ignore the story of Arthur and his knights of extreme sports if you love dogs.

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