The Kingdom (2007) Poster

(2007)

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8/10
More here than meets the eye - if only the cameraman would let you see it
Craig McPherson15 September 2007
Warning: Spoilers
If there's one flaw plaguing Peter Berg's The Kingdom, it's that it tries to be all things to all people. OK, maybe not all things as it definitely doesn't try the romance angle. That's not to say The Kingdom isn't a terrific film, because it is. However, it should have been decided at the outset to make this movie either a political or action thriller, and gone with one or the other.

Matthew Michael Carnahan's script starts out hitting all the right action beats as it unfolds with a vicious terrorist attack on a Saudi compound housing employees of an American oil company (the movie draws inspiration from the 2003 compound bombing in Riyadh). From there the movie almost threatens to get bogged down as it shifts focus to the political machinations both hindering and enabling a joint Saudi/FBI investigation. Fortunately, Berg pulls the film out of this quagmire that threatens to put the breaks on the movie almost as surely as the political attempts to nix the joint investigation.

With the political jabber out of the way, The Kingdom gets down to the meat of the script, shifting the Saudi investigation into high gear and refusing to take its foot off the accelerator.

The movie deserves full marks for refusing to dumb down its story and make the Saudis appear as little more than window dressing to a big screen American shoot-'em-up. While Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Garner, Chris Cooper and Jason Bateman all get top billing, the real star of this story is Ashraf Barhom who plays Saudi police Col. Al-Ghazi, a man dedicated to his profession, with an acute sense of fair play, protocol and justice. Al-Ghazi, who was at the scene of the initial attack on the compound, initially plays the role of hamstrung go-between relegated to babysitting and restricting the movements of the FBI at the urging of higher-ups. However, thanks to a fortuitous face-to-face between the American "guests" and a Saudi Prince, Al-Ghazi is given free reign to lead the US investigators as they try to uncover the mastermind behind the attack.

From there, the audience is treated to a top notch story that nicely touches on everything from culture clashes, forensic revelations, kidnapping, religious doctrine, and the self perpetuation of hate, all of which culminates in a final half hour of riveting, vicious, blood spattering action.

I said The Kingdom suffered from one flaw? On second thought, make that two. It's also yet another victim of the hand-held cameraman suffering from Delirium Tremens, complete with blurry and shaky shots that rarely allow the viewer to actually focus on the images being played out. One day Hollywood will learn that this type of cinematography just doesn't cut it. Sadly, this is not that day. That said however, The Kingdom delivers a smart, taught, evenly balanced thriller that easily shapes up as a heavyweight in this year's run for the Oscar.
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8/10
Much more that a shoot-em'-up, but not for the faint of heart
scottgoblue31430 September 2007
I went into this movie hoping it wouldn't be a cheap shot at either the US Government or the people in the Middle East and I wasn't disappointed. The introduction that outlines the history between Saudi Arabia and the United States alone proves as much: no matter how intense that action was (and it was very much so), the movie itself was a fairly level-headed look at the current situation. You are drawn into the action from the very beginning, but from there it does not sink into an FBI team shooting up Saudis. There is actually an INVESTIGATION, with political interests in the background all the while. An excellent action movie with more than a little thought put into it, but not for the faint of heart.
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7/10
Neither here nor there
Superunknovvn14 October 2007
Peter Berg's "The Kingdom" is a thrilling movie, that's out of the question. The problem is that it doesn't really know whether it primarily wants to be an action movie or a political comment.

It starts out well enough. The gripping opening montage documents the connection between the U.S.A. and Saudi Arabia and sucks you right into the story. The first act plays out as a very good depiction of terror in the middle east. In the second act the movie loses some of its pace and we get to know the characters a bit more. What's really off-putting is that the Americans come across as constantly joking, relaxed, but at the same time totally competent people. It's the old "cowboy"-image Hollywood has always tried to convey in its war movies from the 80's, that should really have been left behind by now. It's not a fatal flaw, but it definitely prevents the movie from becoming more than just an action flick set in the middle east.

This becomes more apparent in the final act, which starts with a car crash and continues with countless shootouts. The movie goes way over the top from this moment on and turns into something Jerry Bruckheimer might have thought up. Technically the action scenes are developed pretty well (I don't share the common criticism of other reviewers that the shaky cam distracted too much. I'm not a fan of it usually, but here it was alright). In its best moments the action looks like something out of "The Bourne Ultimatum", in its worst the movie could be "Shooter".

What separates "The Kingdom" from "Shooter" is its message, though. The final lines spoken in the movie redeem Berg of a lot of the mindless action that preceded them. After all, the makers apparently did want to make some kind of statement and this last comment really hits home. Other than that you don't find much of a message in "The Kingdom". Just because the movie doesn't glorify the U.S.A. at any point, doesn't exactly make it critical. It's merely neutral, which is more than can be said about most American action movies dealing with terrorism. There is one questionable scene, in which a police man from the middle east and the main character, an FBI agent played by Jamie Foxx, seem to agree that it would be best to simply execute the masterminds behind terroristic acts without asking any further questions. On the other hand, this can just be seen as the realistic depiction of what those characters would feel, because I don't think that either would be a big defender of a terrorist's rights.

In the end "The Kingdom" is a straightforward action flick with enough critical undertones to not be propaganda. It's a very exciting thriller to watch, but except for the final scene there's nothing really thought-provoking here.
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6/10
Inside every big Hollywood movie in an interesting movie trying to get out
philip mahoney11 December 2007
There is much to like in The Kingdom. Nice performances, a slightly-new take on the buddy-cop story, Jennifer Garner's upper lip, and some excellent action set pieces. However, halfway through watching it, it occurred to me that it would in fact have been a much more interesting film if none of the stars were in it. Which was little odd, because I am very fond indeed of Jennifer Garner's upper lip.

The plot is this: There is a big terrorist attack in Saudi Arabia. Some FBI agents led by Jamie Foxx, fast talk and bamboozle their way into the country to investigate, where they team up with two Saudi cops. There then follows a small amount of detective work, some interesting political manoeuvring and two really rather well-done shoot outs.

Now, I like Jamie Foxx, Chris Cooper and Jennifer Garner('s upper lip) who play the FBI agents, and although all three do the best they can with the material they are given, no effort is made to make their characters interesting. What's worse, although they aren't interesting, they are nevertheless vastly superior to everyone else. Thus nearly every single advance in the case is made by these three. They are the ones who solve everything.

The two Saudi cops, on the other hand, are interesting characters. Two good cops working in a corrupt, brutal system. Trying to solve a horrific crime whilst faced with hostility from their fellow officers and political interference from above. What's more, they're human. They have weaknesses and fears. They make mistakes.

And that's what occurred to me. I thought to myself that this film would almost certainly be more interesting and entertaining if the whole idea about the FBI agents had been removed, and instead, we'd just been following the wily but unfailingly polite Colonel Al Ghazi and his loyal sidekick Sergeant Haytham as they tried to solve the crime. Instead, once the FBI turn up, these two get relegated to standing to one side and looking suitably impressed every time one of the names-above-the-title stars does something brilliant.

Right at the start of the film, Jennifer Garner's character (ably assisted by her upper lip) makes a comment about how if the Saudi's allowed the FBI into the country to investigate the crime, it could prove to be enormously destructive. If only the film makers had listened to her.

It's not that the Kingdom is a bad film. In fact, it's actually a rather good film. I just think that if they'd dropped the stars, it could have been much better.
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9/10
Well done, entertaining film, but don't watch if you're a self-professed middle East expert.
It seems most of the negative comments are from people who think this should be an historically accurate picture of culture and politics in the middle East. That's the wrong approach to take from the start! I know a little more than the average American, being Jewish and having an aunt who taught this subject at the college level, but I didn't sit there taking notes about what was unrealistic like some folks did. And I enjoyed it! Isn't that the point of a movie like this? The story was good, the dialog interesting, the action top-notch, and as an Alias fan, I even get a thrill seeing Jen Garner doing makeup commercials. Hang loose, fellas--this is an action-adventure, not a PBS news documentary.
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7/10
A FBI crack team formed by three men and one woman goes to Saudi Arab to investigate a terrorist massacre
ma-cortes20 March 2011
Tense film packs intrigue, action , thrills, suspense and an stirring final . Thrilling and exciting movie about terrorism , foreign policy critical and geopolitical issues . After a terrorist bombing on an USA oil company compound in Saudi Arab caused a slaughter , the FBI chief (Richard Jenkins) against the opinion of the General Prosecutor (Danny Huston) sends some crack agents a dangerous mission .FBI Special Agent Ronald Fleury (Jamie Foxx) quickly assembles an elite team ( Chris Cooper ,Jennifer Garner , Jason Bateman) and negotiates a secret five-day trip into Saudi Arabia to locate the madmen behind the bombing , not withstanding the protests of slimy diplomat (Jeremy Piven). They are actively involved in discover the terrorist cell , as the Jihadis are executing a massacre , and planning others and eluding authorities for some time . As they enter Saudi Arab the crew meets colonel Faris ( Ashraf ) like-minded partner and together they scheme to solve it . The CIA agents supported by the Saudi Colonel who helps them navigate royal politics and unlock the secrets of the crime scene and the workings of an extremist cell bent on further destruction , all of them plot to chase relentlessly the mastermind terrorist . The group find their expertise worthless without the trust of their Saudi counterparts, who want to locate the terrorist in their homeland on their own terms . However they form a shaky alliance to break the terrorist ring whose objective is the bombing civilian targets .

Story's core is interesting and script is dense with information and use of interesting messages to add weight to drama, furthermore is packed with moving ending scenes as when the team is attacked on the highway and when the crew is led to the killer's front door in a blistering do-or-die confrontation. The ultra-brisk editing and rapid images movement leaves little time to consider some inadequacies. The picture takes parts from ¨Syriana¨ ( by Steven Soderbergh with George Clooney) about the dangerous terrorism Arab ; ¨Black Hawk down¨ (by Ridley Scott) in which US military involved into action on a foreign country ; Spy game ¨(2001, by Tony Scott with Brad Pitt and Robert Redford ) concerning the spy-world and ¨Body of lies ¨ (2008 by Ridley Scott with Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe ) about sophisticated methods of the international terrorism . The intrepid Jamie Foxx , the veteran Chris Cooper and the only female Jennifer Garner are good as intelligent , brave super-agents and Jeremy Piven's cool displaying a brief performance. The film contains colorful , glimmer cinematography , predominating of yellow tones , by Mauro Fiore . Rousing and vibrant musical score by Danny Elfman with some Arab overtones. The motion picture is well realized by Peter Berg. Rating : Above average, well worth watching.
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8/10
Definitely worth going to
tayinsito27 July 2007
I had the opportunity to view this film a couple of months ago and I almost declined the offer thinking it would be another boring movie about terrorism in the middle east. I'm glad I didn't decline. This film got me hooked from the get go and kept me hook up until the credits. Not a an epic movie by any means but it sure is very entertaining and packed full of action. LOTS OF IT. I know for most action movies, plots and storyline are very weak. I'm not trying to say the story was bad, far from it. The story line was actually very good with strong dialogue and an amazing quote towards the end that really gets you thinking. No spoilers here, just go watch it when it comes out. You won't be disappointed.
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6/10
Interesting until it crashes and burns.
BroadswordCallinDannyBoy30 September 2007
Warning: Spoilers
This film has a great opening act: a terrorist attack on an American housing compound in Saudi Arabia leaves many people, mostly US citizens, dead. The FBI investigates all incidents where US citizens die, but the politics of the Middle East don't make things that simple. The FBI can't just walk into Saudi Arabia, but nonetheless, strings are pulled and the agents arrive to investigate.

The film's second act is also compelling and focuses on more than just the crime at hand. The FBI agents have a Saudi State Police Officer to look after them and they form a certain friendship. They are people who make their life doing the same thing, but they have different ways of doing it and thinking about it. That's what makes the film interesting. The portrayal of the Saudi Arabia also isn't ridiculously demonic and evil as I thought this film might turn out. Ashraf Barhom plays a dedicated and strict man, but he is also likable and his character development is treated just the Jamie Foxx's character. Their relationship in the story exemplifies the two different ways of dealing with the issue at hand. The film isn't very deep, but is definitely better than the typical action movie with a political backdrop and definitely enough to keep the film rolling.

The film's third act begins with a massive car crash and pretty much never recovers. Throughout the film you can see the shaky camera that seems to be popular with many thrillers today, but the third act really does it. The action is so shaky and edited together so fast from so many shots you actually begin to wonder: have they forgot about choreography? Better known as "the arranging of on-screen action so we can actually see what is going on for a couple a seconds at a time." And it is not just the action, but the plot just races toward a quick kill 'em all revenge conclusion that knocks off all the bad guys, has some cheesy moments when a good character dies and leaves you almost in disbelief that the film could wind up here.

There is an interesting irony in the very last scene that asks some questions, but by that point it feels like they were giving so many quick convenient answers that a question seems out of place. --- 6/10

Rated R for violence and profanity. Ages 13+.
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8/10
Excellent
cbuckler16 August 2007
I saw an advanced screening of this movie. The movie is exciting, informative and moving. Just enough action to keep your heart pumping and a great story - I became involved. This movie will show you a slice of life in Saudi Arabia. The characters are real and the struggle to get to the truth is real. The interplay between the Americans and the Saudi troops really shows the differences in our cultures while also showing how police are police and just want the truth no matter where they come from. This movie shows how we should be able to get along if we put religion to one side, but how in the end it is our parents hatred and fear of anything different becomes our own hatred and fear while not knowing the why of it. Hate perpetuates hate and in the end we all suffer.
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"The Kingdom" is a thriller you won't be able to stop thinking about.
Dominic LeRose25 October 2014
The media and society has made out that all Middle eastern countries are "full of terrorists" or "dangerous as hell." With almost all 9/11 hijackers being from Saudi Arabia, the country known as "The Kingdom" is a front-runner for fear. This country is famous for its endless amount of oil and wealth, the home of Osama Bin laden, and the economic relations with the U.S. The setting of Saudi Arabia for an action-packed thriller fits perfect. 'The Kingdom' stars Jamie Fox as a government agent who leads a team into Saudi Arabia to catch a terrorist responsible for a brutal attack on a U.s> embassy in Saudi Arabia. His team includes, Jennifer Garner, Chris Cooper, Jason Bateman, and a Saudi Arabia agent. All American actors besides Fox are horribly ill-cast. None of them are appropriate for their roles. Cooper is too old, Bateman is a comedian, and garner should be a Disney princess, not a warrior. The film takes a while to investigate the murders, and while were in Saudi Arabia, we see the setting perfectly. Director Peter Berg uses intense editing and vivacious camera-work to bring an energy filled story with a chilling ending. Writer Matthew Michael Carnahan ends with a brilliant twist at the ed to sow how the United Sates and Middle east truly do not have a safe relationship. Everyone is affected by the tension after 9/11, even kids is what he's trying to say. The lasts half hour of "The Kingdom' is some of the most fast-paced action in cinematic history. The sequence couldn't have been done in a more entertaining fashion. This film brings up how Saudi Arabia may not be the economic frontier we thought it was, but more of a death trap for American security. It's a complex film that shows how there are good and bad people in every setting no matter how menacing they may seem. You won't be able to stop thinking about it.
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7/10
entertaining and more than an action flick
antoniotierno8 December 2007
The plot is twisting and the movie overall spectacular, although this Jason Bourne style story cannot be taken too seriously, in my opinion. The director, just to make the product more real and grab the attention, tries to add complexity and depth but the level reminds somehow the one of episodic TV. There are a few surprises, some forensic elements and the flick bears some resemblance to Syriana, that was a well done film. Action is undeniably spectacular but Jennifer Garner is not that believable and conceptual flaws are present in the plot. The finale is tear jerker but makes sense eventually, since it's not so far from reality..
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9/10
Violent, intense but very good
geneseogirl28 June 2007
I was able to see an advanced screening of this movie. With such an all star cast I thought it had to be good. It didn't disappoint. This movie had you involved from the first couple minutes. It starts out with a very intense and rather violent attack on US citizens in the Middle East. The movie is about terrorists in the Middle East, specifically The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The FBI steps in when US citizens are attacked abroad and Foxx, Cooper, Garner and Bateman play a team of agents sent to Saudi Arabia to investigate the attack. It seems like there was a lot of research for this movie and it is interesting to see the interactions between the US officials and the Saudi officials. There is constant action in this movie that will keep you on the edge of your seat but also emotion (I cried several times). I do have to say though there is a lot of violence, so if you can't handle it don't go. I didn't think the violence was overdone but it was present throughout the movie. That said, this is one of the best action movies I have seen in a while. Go see it, it is awesome on the big screen!
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1/10
A reasonable action film, but ...
Mono Ape25 December 2007
Warning: Spoilers
... otherwise it's a simplistic, gung ho, neocon piece of wish fulfilment. It appears to open with a criticism of USA military interference and lust for oil, but by the end shows that overt, Rambo-style military action will solve all problems. Yeah, right.

As per Rambo, the 'bad guy' body count is high, and the 'good guys' just get a few impressive cuts on forehead and knuckles, despite being showered with bullets, bombs and rocket-propelled grenades.

The characters are all caricatures: Man Of Few Words, Wise Cracking Guy, Tough Independent Woman, Suspicious Foreigner Who Becomes Friend.

The film finishes with a cynical "someone think of the children!".

If you have low IQ, or the ability to switch most of it off when it suits, or if you'd vote Bush again (given the chance), you'll enjoy this film.

{edit}I've scored it down to 1 on reflection of the grossly stupid and offensive political message behind this film. If the studio was listed as 'G.W. Bush Productions', I wouldn't have been surprised.{/edit}
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1/10
An opportunity Missed
betazoid-328 December 2007
Warning: Spoilers
When I saw the trailer, I thought "This is a keeper!" From the title of the movie, I thought I would learn something about the Arabic nations and the mindset of the radical elements of the Muslim world.

I bought the DVD. I was sorely disappointed.

The movie was not about the Kingdom, but about the FBI taking revenge on a terrorist. Only three tiny scraps of information about the Arabic world was given: They don't like public cursing, they don't film the female body, and terrorists have families, just like Americans do.

The movie did not live up to it's hype. It started off with a heart-wrenching scene that suggested a number of questions that never were properly answered in the plot. What was the mindset of the people who planned the massacre? How did they carry it out? What did they hope to accomplish? How did they justify their actions in the light of the teachings of the Muslim religion? Other than Colonel Faris Al Ghazim the Arabic people were portrayed as little more than caricatures. Character development was nil, and at the end of the movie we were left with a feeling of hopelessness. If both sides felt the same way "Kill them all," What hope did we have of understanding the Arabic world and coming to an agreement that honored both the West and the Middle East? There was a great opportunity here to teach as well as entertain, to make this film one of the greats for decades to come. But that didn't happen. It was sloppy in more ways than one and the director took the easy way out:: visual effects over meaning.

The only star I gave it was for the one real character (other than Fleury) in the film: Colonel Ghazi.
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has the makings of something memorable but takes the easy way out
Special-K8829 October 2007
When a devastating terrorist attack occurs in Saudi Arabia resulting in the death of an American federal agent and several civilians, the FBI is reluctant to conduct their own investigation from fear of severing international relations with an uncooperative Saudi government. Foxx is the head of the bureau's Rapid Action team; accompanied by fellow agents Cooper (an explosives expert), and Garner (a forensic specialist), he leads an 'unofficial' expedition to the site to try and seek out the guilty party. Political thriller has a realistic setup and three capable leads, but unfortunately the film rambles, and reduces itself to a revenge flick on its way to an action-packed climax that feels desperately contrived. The story is interesting but never convincing, especially the ending which is hollow and sentimental. **
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1/10
Really bad , typical silly Hollywood movie
omarking8626 October 2007
Warning: Spoilers
a really bad movie that I even couldn't finish it till the last minute ... The typical American Heroes type of film where the heroes NEVER DIE ... Four American FBI agents were able to fight a wholly-armed Saudi neighborhood and defeat all armed men without a slight injury. Not to mention the accident in which none of the American passengers was harmed and the missiles fired at these American heroes without being able to scratch any of them ... This is soo demeaning and stupidly unrealistic with LOTS AND LOTS of humiliation to Saudis and Muslims in general. To show how a bunch of American FBI agents can come to the middle of the Saudi capital and insult army officers the way they did in the movie is just an insult to every Saudi and Arab.. I am not even Saudi and I've never been there, but I really felt offended throughout the WHOLE MOVIE ...

I think the American army should make use of these four agents and send them to Iraq , maybe they can defeat all the resistance in there and save the Americans asses ... 200 Thousand American soldiers in Iraq can't even defend themselves , while 4 agents (1 of whom is a woman) could defeat a whole neighborhood ... WOW lool
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7/10
Dealing With Malevolence
bkoganbing24 October 2007
Warning: Spoilers
If anyone expects from The Kingdom a serious geopolitical study on what American policy should be in the Middle East, particularly Saudi Arabia, don't spend your money there. If one is expecting an exciting action thriller in an exotic location, than this is your film.

It fascinates me how some people can never wrap themselves around the concept of pure evil. What we are dealing with is religious fundamentalism, the notion that your religion gives you the right to do all kinds of evil in the name of the Deity you worship. It leads to the justification of evil acts by anyone's standards, somehow whitewashed good because you did them in what you consider a noble cause.

Islamic militants both shoot down and bomb American oil workers in their western sanctuary, leaving dead and wounded in three figures. Saudi politics get in the way of law enforcement, so some extra legal pressure is put on them to send an FBI team to investigate. The team is Jamie Fox, Chris Cooper, Jennifer Garner, and Jason Bateman.

It becomes a detective story after that until the climax when the militants try to take one of the FBI team and behead him for propaganda purposes. The final shootout in distinctly unfriendly territory where the American team is helped by Saudi cop Ashraf Barhom is well staged and exciting. Barhom, an Israeli actor, has the best performance in the film.

The film was shot in both Phoenix and the United Arab Emirates and captures the flavor and feel of an Islamic society very well. The Kingdom is not anything profound, but can be enjoyed on its own level.
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1/10
Irresponsible and Reprehensible- Contains Spoilers!
CJ Geoffroy28 July 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I had the displeasure of seeing this movie two nights ago on an advanced screening. I was completely appalled. I waited to write this comment because I felt that the audience might have influenced my hatred of this movie. That is not the case. Peter Berg has the honor of directing one of the most irresponsible films I have ever seen. It opens on September 28 so there may be some changes made, but if left untouched only Toby Keith fans will like it.

Peter Berg tries to disguise this straight up revenge flick as something deeper. In order to persuade the audience of this the credits start with a watered-down history of relations between the US and Saudi Arabia. We are then treated to a horrific terrorist attack in "The Kingdom" of Saudi Arabia where hundreds are killed, including a special agent. Cut to the U.S. Special Agents get upset that one of their own has been killed and want to go over seas to investigate the attack and bring the terrorists to justice. The U.S. government says no, but they go anyway. That is it. They go to Saudi Arabia and kill as many terrorists as possible. In the third act the movie turns into nothing more than a video game of Americans killing terrorists. Dodging bullets, avoiding rockets launched at them, shooting terrorists in the heads and frantic shots of hallways that were all but directly lifted from a Doom video game.

I don't know if Peter Berg has had a chance to sit in an advanced screening in the South, but he would be appalled. The audience clapped and cheered with every Saudi killed. It was truly more grotesque than any of the unnecessary images being shown on screen. As a filmmaker, he had the opportunity to redeem this message in some way, but he took the low road and fueled hatred. The movie ends with this nugget of advice being passed down from both the Americans and Saudis: "Kill all of them." Nice message.

Being a fan of Jamie Foxx, Chris Cooper, Jennifer Gardner, Jeremy Piven (although he's awful in the role. It's like he never stops playing Ari Gold. He was like "Ari in Arabia"), Peter Berg and the always reliable Jason Bateman I expected much more.

If you want war violence go see Werner Herzog's beautiful "Rescue Dawn." If you want to see hatred at its finest then see "The Kingdom."
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7/10
Great action Simple police procedural
SnoopyStyle10 October 2013
Ronald Fleury (Jamie Foxx) leads an FBI team to investigate an attack on an American base in Saudi Arabia. The team is played by Chris Cooper, Jennifer Garner, and Jason Bateman.

Peter Berg has made a simple police procedural. There isn't anything too complicated or twisty. The bad guys are bad. The good guys get their men. The locations are well used. It has the feel of the middle east. Obviously nobody could ever film in Saudi Arabia, but it has good use of UAE.

What he does give us is an insight into the this world. It's a world where Americans do not blend, and the natives are suspicious. The action is fast and furious. It's something that Berg has become proficient in. Yet the action isn't so big that it becomes cartoonish. It is exciting to the final conclusion. It's simplicity is both its strength and its weakness. I can't really complain about its clarity, but it does make it feel more pedestrian.
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2/10
all action, no depth with distracting camera-work and sound
janella_b17 October 2007
Warning: Spoilers
A manipulative action pic full of explosions, carnage, car chases/ crashes and death. No substance. Shallow (indeed offencive) script gave a good bunch of actors nothing to do. Little plot or character development. Dramatic tension replaced with explosions and speeding cars. One of the American "heroes" sent over to teach those incompetent Saudis a thing or two is almost beheaded, but he is rescued in the nick of time (hush my beating heart!) Instead, the obligatory death-of-a-character-we-have-come-to-like scene is fulfilled by a Saudi who was redeemed by his association with the Americans. Happy ending! (Qualified somewhat by the possibility of a revenge sequel.) Dreadful camera-work-- POV of a drunken wasp. Sound-- awful. Couldn't hear half the dialogue. Not that it probably mattered.
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6/10
Tough To Enjoy If It Gives You A Headache
ccthemovieman-117 June 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I see many people here have complained about the hand-held camera and how it gave them a headache trying to follow all the action on screen. I thought they might be exaggerating.

They weren't.

What good is a film, well-made or poorly-made, if it gives you a headache? This is ridiculous. I totally agree with all the reviewers who were annoyed by this. It took away from any enjoyment I was getting from this movie. Consider yourself very lucky if this film doesn't hurt your eyes and head.

However, you still have one other major hurdle: the story! It starts off fine and even 60 percent through, I had no complaints but once the long rescue scene begins, the credibility of this story goes right down the dumper. This is big-time "Rambo" material in which the good guys hit everything they fire at and the opponents are lucky to put a little nick into our "heroes."

In addition, the good guys have their SUV rolled off on a street going hundred miles an hour, flip over many times and all come out running and just fine. Hardly a bruise on any of them, and certainly nothing to slow any of them down. Come on!! Trust me, it gets worse: Jamie Foxx exchanging machine gun fire with foes about 10 feet away and nobody can hit him! You know.....that sort of thing. Thin little Jennifer Garner making like Lara Croft mowing people down left and right. She gets thrown up against a wall at least times and gets kicked in the ribs, but comes up none the worse for wear each time. Are you getting the picture? It's too bad because it good have been a pretty decent picture.

I liked the premise: some Saudi Arabian terrorist committing mass murder with one horrific bombing scene, and the FBI sending over an elite team to work with the Saudis to capture this Bin Laden-type villain. But, well.....it got Hollywood-ized, if you get my drift, and turned out to be something that would insult the intelligence of most adults. It's strong on action and and special-effects but weak on brains and credibility.
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1/10
Hollywood return to steady cam....PLEASE!
robar-425 October 2007
A lot of reviews have already been written about this movie, some good, some bad. However, the comment I wish to make concerns the use of "Wobble Cam" cinematography. This has to be the second worst movie I've ever seen using this technique and it was almost unwatchable. The worst being "Blair Witch" with Paul Greengrass's "Bourne" & "United 93" taking the third and fourth place. "The Kingdom" had some big spectacular action sequences, which should have been good, but the camera-work was so appalling it was hard to see what was going on. Even when the cameraman managed get the action actually in the frame the scenes were cut too short. Why have Hollywood producers and directors chosen to torture their audiences. Maybe a hand held camera can heighten the dramatic atmosphere of certain sequences but why wave the camera around while the characters are talking to each other. Making the audience aware of the camera is pretty stupid technique as it destroys any involvement in the story and characters. Of course bad camera-work can also disguise bad direction, which can sometimes be fixed in editing, however this didn't work for "The Kingdom". What ever happened to Steady cam! ...One Star is too much for this heap of rubbish!
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6/10
A Noisy Collection of Stereotypes and Prejudice
Claudio Carvalho12 April 2008
After a terrorist attack to an American housing compound in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where families and the spy Francis Manner are murdered, FBI agent Ronald Fleury (Jamie Foxx) blackmails the South Arabian consul to get five days of investigation in the location. He travels with agent Grant Sykes (Chris Cooper), Janet Mayes (Jennifer Garner) and Adam Leavitt (Jason Bateman) to revenge their friend and try to find the responsible for the bombing. The agents find all sorts of difficulties in their investigation, but they are supported by Colonel Faris Al Ghazi (Ashraf Barhom) that advises the team how to act in a hostile environment.

After the promising beginning of "The Kingdom" and with the names of Chris Cooper, Jamie Foxx and Jennifer Garner in the cast, I was expecting a great movie. Unfortunately the weak and imbecile screenplay discloses only a noisy collection of stereotypes and prejudice through an absurd story. If the FBI was not allowed to investigate the crime scene, "uncle Fran" was certainly a spy not respecting the sovereignty of Saudi Arabia. Further, how can an elite team be composed by agents seeking revenge, not familiarized with the culture of Saudi Arabia, not speaking their language and bringing a woman in their mission? Last but not the least, the excessive shootout and the awful camera are irritating in a certain moment. My vote is six.

Title (Brazil): "O Reino" ("The Kingdom")
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10/10
Good movie without unnecessary politics
R W15 June 2008
Contrary to what you might think, Hollywood's recent productions relating to the war on terrorism often have a very anti-American tone, or one that at best draws a false moral equivalence between terrorists and those who fight against terrorism. This heavy-handed "social commentary" often undermines the entertainment value of the medium, in addition to being rather misguided. Thankfully, The Kingdom is not a politicized movie.

The Kingdom is a breath of fresh air not because it presents the opposite message but because it is unpretentious: aside from the tacked-on final scene, it really is not trying to brainwash you at all, but tell a story. Most importantly it has some good action so the movie is enjoyable to watch, which is the main point, after all.

The Kingdom has been accused of being "jingoistic", but in reality all it does is tell a story, and do very little glorifying of anyone along the way. It does of course depict extremist terrorists as the villains, but that is hardly uncalled for. To pretend that terrorists don't commit acts of murder, or to suggest that any film depicting the US and its allies in a positive light is "jingoistic", is distorting the spectrum of debate.

Don't watch The Kingdom trying to find pro-American or anti-American propaganda. Watch it primarily as an enjoyable action/crime film set in the present day, with a just a couple interesting scenes about the US and its Arab friends (represented by Colonel Al Ghazi and Sergeant Haytham) as a side note.
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1/10
Disappointingly awful. Just what gets to be called a 'film'?
inspired_by_film24 October 2007
It had the budget, the cast, the high profile (well done, marketers) and the subject matter, but lacked pretty much everything else that can make a film worth watching.

Throughout it felt formulaic, with awful dialogue and empty, clichéd characters. The only character that was watchable (in that he made me laugh and intrigued me) was the main Saudi soldier, Colonel Faris (Ashraf Barhom). Made watchable by Barhom's performance, but still lacking due to the abysmal script. The script, by the way, was completely devoid of originality apart perhaps from the end (but I will say no more as I don't want to give away any details to those who really want to see this 'film'). It was heavy-handed and did not draw me in at all.

It really is a shame that The Kingdom was so disappointing, and discourages me from wanting to see any more films from Hollywood - especially if they are marketed in the same vein. Don't waste money here. Go and watch something like Spooks (MI-5) - a TV series no less. At least that doesn't parade around as though it's sending out a 'message' whilst using a budget that would have been better spent elsewhere, e.g. funding films in countries like Lebanon (where film is totally under-funded).

I'm sorry to those of you who like the film and/or dislike reading negative reviews, generally I'm on that side of the fence. I just had to speak out about this film!
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