Friday, August 21, 2009

The Kingdom. C

There are action movies, provocative international dramas, and 'The Kingdom,' which is a mixture of both, much like the slightly superior 'Blood Diamond' was back in 2006. But while 'Blood Diamond' mixed the action with African genocide, 'The Kingdom' takes us to Saudi Arabia, where a massive terrorist attack has turned the country to turmoil. So the FBI is called upon to find out who is behind the attack. There's the wise negotiator, played by Jamie Foxx, the hot tough-as-nails examiner (Jennifer Garner), the bomb technician, Chris Cooper, and the comic relief analyst, played by Jason Bateman (This is one of two movies from 2007 with Bateman and Garner, the other being 'Juno'). The opening o the film is a beautifully crafted CGI exploration of the relations between the U.S and Arabia. It makes for the perfect beginning of what could have been a compelling dramatic piece about the conflict. Instead, director Peter Berg decides to turn the movie into an action flick and we leave it thinking more about the action than the drama. The performances are 'okay.' Foxx and Garner don't do much to boost their filmographies, while Cooper is surprisingly bland. Still, all the actors work well as a group, and some of Saudi characters are actually pretty interesting. 'The Kingdom' closes with a bang, as the final twenty minutes are focused on a prolonged action sequence that seemed inevitable. 'The Kingdom' felt confused with its blend of action and real life events. There are plenty of kingdoms in the world. This is not one that you need to visit.

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