Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Movie Review: The Kingdom

The Kingdom
CS Rating: Too Pro-American for it's own good

Impressively executed, The Kingdom might suck you in but something just isn't right and it took a few post-movie discussions of the film for me to finally figure out what it was. More on that later.

The movie sets out to shock. We live with real violence thanks to the Television shows that lack the class NOT to show the effects of just how bad it can get when one human being does their worst on another. But after the initial terrorist attack the shock wears off quickly as a group of FBI agents (Jamie Fox, Jenifer Garner, Chris Cooper, etc) show up to turn the movie into CSI: Saudi Arabia.

The FBI investigates and jokes it's way through the 'crime scene', putting the clues together in typical convienient fashion and putting the Saudi's to shame as the movie is set on showing that they just can't investigate a terrorist attack.

The 'America is Awesome' feel gets tiring as the movie is stubborn in it's mission to prove that it's us poor American's that keep getting crapped on by these damn backwards third world civilizations.

The movie starts off with a catch up animation piece showing the timeline of the region and oil conflicts that have led our world to where it is today. This to me meant there would be a message to the film. My friend thought that message was incredibly anti-muslim. I felt that the message wasn't so much anti-muslim as it was just typically pro-american. The overall message was lost on both of us - because I think it had something to do with 'violence begets violence' and the film ended with a both American's and Muslims alike swearing to continue the revenge killing.

The actors could have been cardboard cutouts and as much as Jennifer Garner is beautiful to watch, she had very little to do in most of the film. It was disappointing seeing so many quality actors just phone in their performaces.

Jeremy Piven shows up out of nowhere and whoever casted him should be banned from casting for the rest of time. He comes in like his character from Entourage and completely derails the scenes he's in because he sticks out like a sore thumb. He just has no place in this film.

Despite the flaws, I still had a good time watching it - particularly in the final action sequence which in retrospect feels very tacked-on. Someone somewhere obviously thought the movie needed less message and more terrorist ass kicking.

So onto what really just didn't sit well with me and you may not want to read this as it may be spoilerific: The American's had no sacrifices. Everyone on the team got out alive. No one made any mistakes, no one fucked up in anyway shape or form and yes all the characters live. Not one American died and certainly Piven's character should have been blown up. The movie seems to confidently say "Americans get will get in, kill all the baddies, get the main terrorist and get out within a few days and well, Americans' just rule." Did the writers forget that this country has been incapable of finding any well known terrorist in the past 7 years? Bin Laden anyone?!

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