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*** Official THE KINGDOM Review Thread (1 Viewer)

rich_d

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I saw this in a preview showing on Saturday.

In a word, disappointing.

I have no idea how this got green-lighted other than Hollywood's interest in political issues and the like. The film was:

One part America in a world we don't belong (yes, we get it)
One part THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS
One part let's watch people spending a bunch of time waiting around

It's not that the film is a disaster, it's more that it seems ill-conceived and non-involving. The most action came not from the action but all the jump-cuts.

Wasn't just me, when the lights came on the audience looked underwhelmed. I heard someone say "snoozefest" walking out.
 

Patrick Sun

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"The Kingdom" has some good spots, like the opening title montage that brings the audience up to speed about Saudi Arabia and why the US cares about that country in a historical context, some so-so spots, where the film plays out like CSI: Saudia Arabia, albeit with a bigger budget than a TV version of the CSI-based shows, and finishes somewhat strong and chaotic in its last act, but sort of misses a beat that would have made it an excellent film.

I think it could have been a little longer, actually, to flesh out more of the characters, and the conflicts arising from the FBI's presence in Saudi Arabia to investigate a terroristic attack on a US compound. The performance are overall good, never quite reaching outstanding or excellent territory, but that's more due to the script than the actors involved. The direction by Peter Berg is overall good, but his style is starting to get too tied to handheld camerawork as well (like Paul Greengrass).

I give it 2.75 stars, or a grade of B-.
 

Kevin Grey

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I really enjoyed it. I agree with Patrick that it could almost have benefited from being longer. I appreciated the performances- Berg seems to prefer understated and natural performances (at least here and in FNL) and I appreciate it.

Final sequence was probably the best gunfight I've seen in a long, long time.
 

Jose Martinez

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I agree, that final gunfight was awesome. Especially Elektra's fight. My heart was beating hard in that one. Never felt like that before.

I also agree that the supporting characters needed more story behind them but the movie was really about Fleury and the Saudi military policeman.

I didn't find it boring but it did feel like they spent a lot of time in the beginning doing nothing.

Funniest line: I'm not a god damned French Canadian!

Best line: Don't worry. We'll kill them all
 

Robert Crawford

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This thread is now the Official Review Thread for "The Kingdom". Please post all HTF member reviews in this thread.

Any other comments, links to other reviews, or discussion items will be deleted from this thread without warning!

If you need to discuss those type of issues then I have designated an Official Discussion Thread.



Crawdaddy
 

Sam Favate

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I thought it was pretty dumb - not Rambo dumb, but pretty dumb nonetheless. It was just an exercise in American wish fulfillment (like Rambo), where American tough guys rush in at the last minute and set things right. It's politics were bad, if you ask me, and the movie presented a very simplistic picture of what is a very complex situation. One review I read said it best: "It's Syriana for dummies."
 

Josh.C

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I was cruising along in this film, thinking it was the average, run of the mill, Terrorist overseas type of flick until the last 1/3 of the film. From the Car chase sequence to the end was pure adrenaline, with one of the best action scenes I've seen in a long time.

It saved the film for me, and I ended up really liking the movie. Jamie Fox is growing on me, and does well in the genre. I liked seeing Cooper in a little more commical role (usually plays the very serious characters), and think he did well.

Solid 8/10, and probably even 8.5/10 based on the action sequence in the final act of the movie.
 

Brett_M

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I'm very surprised at the low ratings and harsh reviews. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I was hooked from the opening. I enjoyed the performances and the action, as well as the procedural stuff.

****/*****
 

Chris Atkins

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I guess that depends on your political perspective, doesn't it? I for one thought the Kingdom's politics (which were decidedly middle of the road) were a breath of fresh air in a Hollywood that has offered little but self-loathing in its films on the war against terror. And, in the end, it gave us all something to think about as human beings, not as members of particular political parties or supporters of particular presidents.

I gave it a 9/10 overall. It intrigued me from start to finish, though some of the execution was a bit off. I thought the shaky cam worked in parts, but not in others.
 

DavidJ

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Of course, I found the ending disingenuous after the filmmakers wanted us to enjoy the mayhem. I also found it disturbing that it had the standard action shoot 'em up feel after the horror of the terrorist attack at the beginning. I didn't hate this film, but as I think about it, it actually makes me mad as they want to have it both ways.
 

Sam Favate

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(Spoilers present)

I don't think so. The film's lack of realism is why I said it was nearly as dumb as Rambo. The scene in which we watch as the villians prepare to kill Jason Bateman's character is meant to exploit the horror we have felt over the years as we hear about beheadings. But it is a cheat to the movie and to the audience to have the Americans burst in at the last minute and save him - something we wish would happen but which never does. That's why I said the movie was simply American wish fulfillment. What's the film's message? That Americans should be allowed to solve the region's problems? That Americans know better than the people who populate that region? That's an abhorrent message, IMO.

Normally, I'd have no problem with any movie being simple wish fulfillment, but this is a movie that is selling itself as topical (even though it really isn't), so it owes a debt of responsibility to the audience, and I think it fails miserably on that.

The more I think of this film, the more I think it was a failure of filmmaking. (And don't get me started on the nausea-inducing shaky cam. Enough already.)

I also saw In the Valley of Elah this weekend, and that was an excellent film. Much more deserving of being called topical.
 

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