KSL Movie Show review: ‘Arthur the King’ got to me, and I’m not ashamed to admit it

Mar 14, 2024, 6:43 PM | Updated: Mar 15, 2024, 7:40 am

Arthur the King surprised KSL Movie Show host Stevel Salles with how moving it was....

In this KSL Movie Show review, host Steve Salles explains how Mark Wahlberg is the second-best thing about "Arthur the King".

SALT LAKE CITY — Usually, when I write about a movie, I like to lead with its best foot or paw forward. That way you know if you want to keep reading or not. So when I say Mark Wahlberg is the second best thing about “Arthur the King” and that he’s upstaged by one of the best canine performances in recent memory (and I’m not forgetting about the pooch Messi in “Anatomy of a Fall”) — you can believe it.

But we do have to start with Wahlberg since he’s supposedly the lead in this heartfelt drama. He plays Michael Lindnord (in the true story book, he’s Swedish) who has participated in adventure racing for nearly two decades with limited success. An adventure racer runs, climbs, bikes and kayaks through mountainous, jungle terrain as part of a team of four, in this case over ten days and 435 miles in the Dominican Republic.

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And of course, it’s a rag-tag group that he’s assembled including a social media star Leo (Simu Liu) who the corporate sponsor insists must be in the mix, despite a previous incident where captain Michael used poor judgement, costing his team a race. He also has an old loyal friend Chik (Ali Suliman) who is a terrific navigator, but also trying to get over a knee issue. And finally Olivia (Nathalie Emmanuel) who is a climbing expert, is doing this for her legendary father who is struggling with cancer.

While the team is coming together, we see this poor, roughed-up dog scrounging for garbage scraps in the back alleys of Santo Domingo. He’s alone, harassed by other, bigger dogs, but has street smarts that have kept him alive.

He will be lingering around at the race’s first rest stop and will get noticed by Michael who is resting his feet and snacking on some meatballs. Rather than begging for food, the dog sits patiently nearby, until Michael offers him a bite, only then will the dog come forward and accept the morsel gratefully.

The race continues for another two hundred miles, as the team makes what could have been a tragic “shortcut” miscalculation, but eventually arrives at the next rest stop. Unbelievably, the same dog is there waiting for them.

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This is where Michael names him Arthur, out of respect for the dog’s restraint in accepting any handouts. And just like that, Arthur becomes part of the team and the press takes notice. He will become an invaluable part of the group, as you will see, and you are pulling for him and his human companions to hopefully win the race.

This is as far as I take you, but just know that there will be many challenges ahead, some of them a bit melodramatic, but somehow earned and accepted.

At this point, you’ll be tempted to ask the all-important question – does the dog make it? A lot of audiences are hesitant to watch a film where animals are in peril. I wish I could tell you that Arthur isn’t, but it’s crucial to the storyline and I simply can’t say.

What it is — is a deeply inspiring story, that’s sprinkled with a handful of cheese, but nonetheless, very entertaining and emotionally tortuous.

I was stunned at how much “Arthur the King” got to me and I’m not ashamed to admit that I teared up more than a few times, but it was a good cry.

ARTHUR THE KING Rated PG-13 for some strong language. Starring Mark Wahlberg, Simu Liu, Nathalie Emmanuel, Ali Suliman and Ukai the dog. Directed by Simon Cellan Jones (“The Family Plan” two episodes of “The Diplomat”) – filmed in the Dominican Republic. Running time: 107 minutes.

The KSL Movie Show with Andy Farnsworth and Steve Salles airs Fridays on KSL NewsRadio from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Follow the show on Facebook, and join The KSL Movie Show Club for exclusive perks by texting MOVIE to 57500.

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KSL Movie Show review: ‘Arthur the King’ got to me, and I’m not ashamed to admit it