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The Kingdom (2007)
Irresponsible and Reprehensible- Contains 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."