Genre: Drama/Sports
Director: Simon Cellan Jones
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Simu Liu, Juliet Rylance, Nathalie Emmanuel, Ali Suliman, Bear Grylls, Paul Guilfoyle
Runtime: 1 hr 47 mins
Rating: PG13 (Some Coarse Language)
Released By: Encore Films
Official Website: 

Opening Day: 4 April 2024

Synopsis:  Starring Mark Wahlberg, Simu Liu, Juliet Rylance, Nathalie Emmanuel Over the course of ten days and 435 miles, an unbreakable bond is forged between pro adventure racer Michael Light (Mark Wahlberg) and a scrappy street dog companion dubbed Arthur. Based on an incredible true story, ARTHUR THE KING follows Light, desperate for one last chance to win, as he convinces a sponsor to back him and a team of athletes (Simu Liu, Nathalie Emmanuel, and Ali Suliman) for the Adventure Racing World Championship in the Dominican Republic. As the team is pushed to their outer limits of endurance in the race, Arthur redefines what victory, loyalty and friendship truly mean.

Movie Review:

Mark Wahlberg has played almost everything, from a porn star to cops to even a priest. The megastar is seen regularly on the big screen as well as on television. For that matter, he just appeared in The Family Plan on Apple TV+, an action comedy directed by Simon Cellan Jones. That movie by the way is terrible. Prior to that, Jones also made another movie with Wahlberg and that is Arthur The King.

Arthur The King is basically a sports-theme movie but with a twist. There’s a cute dog thrown in to all the gruelling routines. Wahlberg plays Michael Light, an adventure racer who partakes in a race that takes them across hundreds of miles of wild terrain in five days or more. It takes hell lot of endurance and toughness to complete the course let alone winning the championship. However, Light is determined to win the game after losing the last one in Costa Rica three years ago.

Together with his other three teammates, Leo (Simu Liu), the social media addict, Chik (Ali Suliman), the one with a bad knee and Olivia (Nathalie Emmanuel), the girl who wishes to make her sick dad proud, the foursome embarks on a race across the jungle terrain in Dominican Republic. At the mid point, a stray dog which Light named as Arthur joined them in the race after the latter fed him some meatballs.

Believe it or not, Arthur The King is based on a true story of high-adventure athlete Mikael Lindnord and his dog. While it’s marketed as a “dog” movie, the main character doesn’t really has a lot of screen time till the second half of the movie. The first half focused mostly on Light and his determination to reenter the race after failing to be a proper realtor in his dad’s company.

Then it’s the various aspects of the trekking which makes things interesting. It seems that there is no fixed path for the racers to follow. You can chose to take harrowing, risky shortcuts so long you can make it to the next meeting point alive and in one piece. Jones and his crew manages to pull off a tensed, giddy sequence involving a faulty zipline ride. If you are looking for one memorable scene in the movie, then this is the one.

Without sounding too sacrilegious, the narrative turns a bit too predictable once the stray mutt comes in. Well, there’s already enough elements in the story to tell an entertaining underdog sports tale so Arthur seems to be a minor distraction. Let’s see, there’s the underlying tension between Leo and Light and the numerous obstacles along the way that hinders the competition. It’s a gruelling competition that is taking place in a sometimes wet, jungle terrain. Pretty sure there’s more to that than just simple trekking, canoeing and dehydration.

Like it or not, our cute heroic stray dog is here to stay and there’s an obligatory teary scene in the end. Wahlberg as usual manages to be an onscreen inspiring everyday hero. Simu Liu and Nathalie Emmanuel pulled off a decent job alongside Suliman. Even though it’s less of a dog movie, there’s much to like about Arthur The King. At least you won’t suffer from dehydration watching the leads slugging it out.

Movie Rating:




(More of a sports movie than a dog movie but nevertheless, a crowd-pleaser)

Review by Linus Tee


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