September 28, 2007 The Kingdom
Studio: Universal Pictures Rating: R for intense sequences of graphic brutal violence, and for language.
In "The Kingdom," a team of U.S. government agents heads to the middle east to investigate the bombing of an American facility.
Set in Saudi Arabia, the film starts with a compressed history lesson about the country. Once the action gets underway, attackers wearing Saudi police uniforms open fire on an American oil company compound filled with civilian workers and their families. After the initial wave of violence the terrorists true motive is revealed. A powerful bomb goes off hours later as emergency responders are on the scene. An FBI forensics team is soon on its way from Washington to assist the Saudis with the investigation.
The Americans quickly find they've been put on a very short leash by their hosts. However, they eventually gain the trust of their handlers as the investigation moves forward.
But the danger continues to escalate. Following a brazen attack in broad daylight the Americans have to move quickly to save one of their own.
Jamie Foxx, Chris Cooper, Charleston's own Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman star as the agents trying to solve the mystery. Their performances are all pretty good with Foxx leading the way. The Saudi contact played by Ashraf Barhoum also delivers a very nice performance as the FBI's Saudi contact.
Director Peter Berg delivers a gritty movie with plenty of handheld camera shots and quick bursts of dialogue. There are moments when the video gets very shaky, even bordering on being distracting. But Berg is successful in communicating a sense of chaos and urgency.
In addition to the fight scenes, the forensics investigation reminded me of a network tv crime show. But instead of a major American city we're taken to a faraway foreign land. Filled with politics and intrigue but not overstuffed with mindless action, "The Kingdom" is an entertaining action thriller.
On my rating scale, "The Kingdom" earns a Triple.
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