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

New Movies

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Writer-director Robert Budreau takes a stylised approach to this biopic of the legendary jazz artist...

Jason Bourne Movie Review

Jason Bourne Movie Review

It's been nine years since Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass collaborated on The Bourne Ultimatum,...

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

Veteran Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg (Festen, The Hunt) returns to a smaller homegrown story after...

The BFG Movie Review

The BFG Movie Review

For his adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, Steven Spielberg reunited with screenwriter Melissa Mathison,...

Finding Dory Movie Review

Finding Dory Movie Review

It's been 13 years since the release of the Disney/Pixar hit Finding Nemo, and filmmaker...

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

This is where the Star Trek franchise officially shifts from thoughtful drama into thunderous action....

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

With its fifth feature-length adventure, this franchise continues its preposterous journey at full tilt. As...

Advertisement
Keanu Movie Review

Keanu Movie Review

An entertaining hybrid of satirical comedy and action thriller, this madcap adventure swerves wildly between...

Ghostbusters Movie Review

Ghostbusters Movie Review

It's been more than 30 years since the Ghostbusters first hit the big screen with...

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

While the original 2013 magical caper was a big hit, it's style-over-substance approach didn't exactly...

The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

It's been nearly 30 years since the last live-action Tarzan movie, and yet it still...

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

A New York comedy with vivid characters and a contrived plot, this feels rather a...

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Nearly 25 years after the sitcom debuted, Edina and Patsy arrive on the big screen...

Central Intelligence Movie Review

Central Intelligence Movie Review

After teaming up with Will Ferrell for Get Hard and Ice Cube for two Ride...

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.