Movie Reviews: The Kingdom
The Kingdom refers to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, where the movie is set (it was filmed mostly in Arizona), and it concerns the efforts of U.S. special agents played by Jamie Foxx, Chris Cooper, Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman to discover the perpetrators of a terrorist attack in Riyadh, the country's capital. It is opening to vastly mixed reviews. On the one hand, there's this description of the movie by Lou Lumenick in the New York Post: "A xenophobic, overblown, revenge-driven action thriller that exports the Rambo mentality to the contemporary Middle East." It reminds Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times of all those "Yellow Peril" films of World War II. He criticizes "the film's determination to blatantly play on our emotions, to shamelessly exaggerate the good and evil in all of its plot elements. The Kingdom is in many ways a film that doesn't want us to think, doesn't trust us to feel on our own and is more than willing to strip everything of nuance as if it were a disease." But that's not necessarily bad, suggests A.O. Scott in the New York Times, who calls The Kingdom "a slick, brutishly effective genre movie: Syriana for dummies." (Ty Burr in the Boston Globe uses an almost identical description in his review.) Or as Glenn Whipp puts it more unmannerly in the Los Angeles Daily News, it's "a rock-'em, sock-'em action movie that is unapologetic in its ethos of butt-kicking revenge."