The Kingdom

 
Directed by: Peter Berg
Written by:Matthew Michael Carnahan
Starring: Jamie Foxx, Chris Cooper, Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman, Ashraf Barhom, Jeremy Piven
Released: October 4, 2007
Grade: C+

A terrorist attack has taken place in Saudi Arabia.  A bomb was detonated inside an American housing compound in the city of Riyadh.  As medical teams helped the injured and detectives looked over the scene, a second bomb was detonated.  This was a carefully planned attack and many lives were lost as a result.

Back in the United States, Special Agent Ronald Fleury (Foxx) of the FBI wants to take a team to Saudi Arabia to help with the investigation.  His first request is denied.  The Saudi authorities don’t want to be seen as requiring assistance from the United States – it will make them look weak.  After lobbying some influential people, Fleury gets his permission.  He takes 3 other agents (played by Cooper, Garner and Bateman) and leaves on a top-secret flight.

Their first day in Riyadh isn’t as productive as they’d hoped.  They are given only limited access to the crime scene and the Saudi military are keeping a very close eye on them.  Despite this, they still manage to make some key breakthroughs.  With the help of Colonel Ghazi (Barhom), the four Americans are closing in on the terrorists responsible.

The Kingdom started promisingly enough.  The early scenes highlighted the difficulties that FBI agents face when investigating a crime in another country.  From about the half way point though, the film deteriorated rapidly.  I realised that this wasn’t a serious thriller but rather a standard Hollywood action flick.  Bullets and clichés were flying everywhere.  How can someone can be shot at 100 times and not get hit once?  I’ve been asking this question for a long time and I haven’t found an answer yet.

Some viewers won’t be perturbed by this criticism and won’t mind that this is filled with predictable action.  It all depends on who you are.  Still, with a cast including the likes of Jamie Foxx, Chris Cooper and Jennifer Garner, I expected better value for money.