15 of 24 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: The Kingdom [DVD] (DVD)
Worst film I have seen this year. What on earth is Jamie Foxx doing in this mindless pile of rubbish?
The film opens with this 2 minute potted history of Saudi Arabia -with lots of flashing images and snippets of newsreel. Basically the upshot of this is that there is oil in Saudi Arabia. The fact the filmakers believe this important information gives you an idea of the core audience - i.e. idiots. Whenever a new character enters the screen, they either introduce themselves by name and by job title, or it appears for them on the screen. Just to stop you getting anxious that you might need to use your brain.
Then the film cuts to a terrorist attack on an American oil workers compound in Saudi Arabia. The attack takes place on a family and friends softball game, just to make sure that you do get angry and yell at the TV that someone better be taking the fight to those commu-nazis - I mean, terrorists. Just to make sure you know the terrorists are bad, you see one making a child watch it all happen, and another dress up as a policeman, pretend to re-assure the Americans before blowing himself up among them.
Fortunately, someone is taking the fight to the commu-nazies, and this is Jamie Foxx and his elite team of FBI investigators get sent out to Saudi Arabia. They realize early on in the film that Saudi's are only good at being brutal, incapable of police work, or being terrorists.
The film makes some amazingly lame attempts to draw attention to the cultural differences between America and Saudi Arabia. In one scene, Jeniffer Garner's character touches a dead Muslim man when doing an autopsy. Bear in mind that her character is meant to be some sort of expert in Middle East terrorism. This is meant for the viewers benefit - the filmakers assuming that its target audience won't even be aware there are such things as cultural differences, so we end up with a ridiculous scene in which a middle-east expert doesn't know even small basics about Islamic culture. The film's idea of political complexity is to have someone introduced from the American embassy telling the FBI agents not to get killed and to go home ASAP. And towards the end of the film this official gets his way - but not before the terrorists launch an attack on the FBI agents by attacking their convoy on the way to the airport. Then in a daring chase, the FBI agents walk into two terrorist hideouts, killing hundreds of terrorists like so many levels of the computer game Medal Of Honour.
After bursting into an apartment and blowing half a family away, Jennifer Garner's character offers a traumatized hid a lollipop. This tells you right here everything you need to know about the people who make this film, that the family would be in some way grateful that the Americans made the bad men go away. Commando is a more complicated film. In fact, do you remember the start of Commando, when you see Arnie stroking a lovely baby deer with his daughter? That's the lollipop scene. Commando is charmingly amateurish, seemingly written by a hyperactive 14 year old. The Kingdom has aspirations to serious drama.
The Kingdom, and films like it, are the reason Team America: World Police was made.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 8 Jan 2009 22:22:33 GMT
Mr. M. G. Page says:
Are you for real? The lollipop scene is set up so that the child can inadvertently reveal that the FBI agents have indeed stumbled across the brains behind the operation. It's got nothing at all to do with being grateful to Americans. Do you think a young Arab monoglot is going to be able to tell that the blonde westerner is American as opposed to European or Australasian?
The potted history at the beginning is not really about oil per se, it's to explain to people like you a little bit about Wahhabism.
"Killing hundreds of terrorists"? Er I think not. Maybe a dozen, max.
In reply to an earlier post on 9 Jan 2009 10:45:05 GMT
Last edited by the author on 10 Jan 2009 10:01:09 GMT
Mr Page,Granted, I may have got a little carried away (communazis!). But this film is a stinker. If you can't see how politically crass much of it was, then I'm not sure we are going to agree on much. The Saudis are all cardboard cut-out characters, incapable of conducting a police investigation until the humane, sassy, gung-ho action-hero Americans turn up. It's how it looks. This is not a political thriller, it's a dumb action movie with someone attempting to write some politics into it. What's more, the producers of the film don't have a high enough opinion of their own audience to trust them to figure things out for themselves or know the first thing about Saudi Arabia, hence the potted history at the start of the film. This is some of the laziest script writing I have ever seen, could they not have explained the background through the plot, through character interaction?
Bet hey, I'm glad you liked this film because it means at least one us got something from it!
In reply to an earlier post on 3 Apr 2010 10:58:28 BDT
C. W. Bradbury says:
From the review, this film seems a classic example of 'dumbed down' modern entertainment. Unfortunately those of us who wish to be both informed and entertained seem to be a dwindling minority today.
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