Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Kingdom DVD

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Headline: DVD Features Foxx as FBI Agent Out to Crack Saudi Terror Cell

After the bombing of an American compound in Saudi Arabia, the United States is determined to find the radical Muslims responsible. Seeing that a diplomatic solution is unlikely, the FBI opts to intervene via a top secret operation headed by Agent Ronald Fleury (Jamie Foxx) whose best friend (Kyle Chandler) perished in the attack.
With word that he’ll have only five days to infiltrate and bring down the terrorist cell, Fleury quickly assembles an elite team of commandos, each with a different skill needed for this dangerous mission. The crew is comprised of intelligence analyst Adam Leavitt (Justin Bateman), demolitions expert Grant Sykes (Chris Cooper) and forensic examiner Janet Mayes (Jennifer Garner).
Upon their arrival in Riyadh, they are debriefed by Saudi Colonel Faris Al-Ghazi (Ashraf Barhom) who soon vents his frustration with the royal family for blocking his investigation thusfar. Furthermore, it becomes apparent that even the U.S. envoy Damon Schmidt (Jeremy Piven) would prefer to stage a phony raid for a P.R. photo op than to risk destabilizing the region with an actual assault on the jihadist stronghold.
Fortunately, Faris is an honorable soul who cares more about fundamental notions of justice than on a reflexive loyalty based on religion. Thus, he’s willing to incur the ire of his superiors to help the fearless FBI foursome negotiate its way around a maze of obstacles ranging from unreliable informants to political adversaries to the city’s terrain to the searing heat.
Directed by Peter Berg, The Kingdom is a combination flick, part psychological thriller, part pyrotechnic spectacular, which works somehow despite considerable conceptual flaws. So long as one is willing to suspend disbelief, the film inexorably builds to a spectacular showdown reminiscent of Black Hawk Down, except the cowboys wearing the white hats win.
Sweet revenge in the desert.

Very Good (2.5 stars)
Rated R for profanity and graphic violence.
Running time: 110 minutes
Studio: Universal Studios Home Video
DVD Extras: Deleted scenes, director’s commentary, an interactive timeline, plus three featurettes.

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