The Kingdom (2007)

"Weak"

The Kingdom (2007) Review


Peter Berg's The Kingdom will either rally those in the theater or piss off every single ticket holder in sight. It's gonna be awesome. Indeed, sardonic catcalls of "kill all the towelheads!" were shouted at the press screening I attended while the rest of the theater applauded with rigorous aplomb as Jennifer Garner jammed a knife into a Saudi terrorist's nether regions. This was all preceded by some daft bollock yammering on his cellphone during the opening credits while another patron quietly threatened castration. Only in New York, ladies and gents.

Why will people be so divisive, you ask? Well, in The Kingdom, a compound of Americans in the Saudi Arabia capital of Riyadh are bombed. Subsequently, the reaction team, led by Agent Manner (Kyle Chandler), falls victim to a much larger, hidden bomb that is disguised as an ambulance gurney. Berg employs Jamie Foxx to seduce, threaten, and charm his way into Saudi airspace as Agent Fleury, fighting to get his team of quickdraws into Riyadh to get all forensic with the crime scene. No such luck, Honcho: Seems that the local fuzz won't have any of it and keep a real vice on Fleury and his team's "oo-rah" attitude. That is until Prince Thamer gives tactical command over to the pandering Colonel Faris Al Ghazi (Ashraf Barhom), who sees eye-to-eye with the FBI team and their American-outlaw brand of badassery.

If you can say one thing about Berg's Saudi action-a-go-go, it's not bashful about its politics at all. Foxx and Garner, along with Chris Cooper and Jason Bateman, might have a hard time getting into Saudi Arabia, but once they do, Berg's trigger/detonator finger goes AWOL. This Team America rhetoric preposterously fits the bill, allowing the crew to get the job done and eventually hone in on the big bad terrorist man, Abu Hamza. Though the thought of Bush ever actually allowing anything so dangerous as a straightened paper clip into Saudi Arabia is patently ridiculous, the rest of the film blusters with his specific brand of let-God-sort-'em-out politics. The fact that neither the man's name nor any realistic political figure exists in Berg's world makes the message all the more troubling.

Berg's main work so far has been on the film and television adaptations of H.G. Bissinger's Friday Night Lights, both of which have been a resounding success. As an action director, Berg obviously yanks the DNA from the great Michael Mann (who serves as a producer here) and even shoots it in high-def video like Mann's Miami Vice. To be fair (and honest), the action moves and cuts intensely. In the film's climactic car chase and the preceding taking of a terrorist funhouse, the suspense effectively peaks. However, the dangerous politics are too hard to ignore. Berg's final lines, one said by Foxx and the other by a young terrorist-to-be, stink of pandering and a beguiling quick-change. It doesn't work, and ultimately neither does The Kingdom, even when the action hits high throttle.

Now watch this drive.

Don't mess with her. She's an Affleck.



Facts and Figures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , , Scott Stuber

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

This remake of Disney's 1991 classic is remarkably faithful, using present-day digital animation effects to...

The Salesman Movie Review

The Salesman Movie Review

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi won his second Oscar with this astute drama which, like 2011's...

Get Out Movie Review

Get Out Movie Review

Leave it to a comedian to make one of the scariest movies in recent memory....

Personal Shopper Movie Review

Personal Shopper Movie Review

After winning a series of major awards for her role in Olivier Assayas' Clouds of...

Certain Women Movie Review

Certain Women Movie Review

In films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, writer-director Kelly Reichardt has told sharply...

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

After the success of 2014's Godzilla reboot, the Warner Bros monsters get their own franchise,...

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Filmmaker Gurinder Chada (Bend It Like Beckham) draws on her own family history to explore...

Advertisement
Trespass Against Us Movie Review

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

With an extra dose of attitude and energy, this Irish comedy-drama hits us like a...

Logan Movie Review

Logan Movie Review

Hugh Jackman returns to his signature role one last time (so he says), reuniting with...

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

At just 27 years old, Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan has an almost overwhelming set of...

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.