The poster made Jennifer Garner looked like the star of the show.
The movie trailer made the show looked very exciting.
The presence of Jamie Foxx made the show, “The Kingdom” a ‘must watch’.
25 Nov. – It didn’t take much to persuade May to watch “The Kingdom” as there were no other good movies in town. May being a horror freak and a mystery drama lover would have overruled my suggestion if she had a choice. We checked out the Curve and it was a good choice as there ample tickets there.
The Kingdom started off with a great montage sequencing the history of Saudi Arabia from the time oil was discovered, the involvement of America in influencing the supply of oil through to the invasion of Kuwait, Operation Dessert Storm, September 11 and Osama Bin Laden.
Two Muslim women who were sitting in front us stood up and left when they realize the theme of movie. This appeared to be another case of extremism like the “halal cups and non halal cups” incident.
After the intro, the movie move on to a secured compound of an American oil company in Saudi Arabia where two imposters in police uniform started shooting up a baseball game before being gunned down by security forces. As the panicked crowd ran, another uniformed man directed them to a safe shelter where after gathering enough victims, he detonated himself. It was utter chaos and when the dust finally settled down, you have people crying, people in a dazed, dead people scattered around and the injured lying all over place. Help came and there people all over; the police, the paramedics, the government agents. Special agent Fran was reporting via his mobile directly to Washington when “Kaboom”, a much larger bomb blast went off, totally annihilating everyone to bits.
This first 15 minutes was definitely the highlight of the movie. The scenes were well constructed. The depiction was very graphic and believable. You could feel the terror portrayed and when the second bomb went off, you could almost hear the audience skip a breath.
The story then switched to Washington where FBI Special Agent Ronald Fleury (Jamie Foxx) miraculously managed to blackmail the Saudi government in allowing him and his team to go and investigate the attack when the top echelon of the American government has been rejected in the first instance. So our “heroes”, Fleury with his team consisting of Special Agents Janet Mayes (Jennifer Garner), Grant Sykes (Chris Cooper) and Adam Leavitt (Jason Bateman) head out to Saudi Arabia where they were met by Colonel Faris Al Ghazi (Ashraf Barhom) whose assignment was to chaperon the agents and to prevent them from actively investigating the bombing.
As the story goes, Fleury managed to negotiate his way for more liberty and when they were allowed to play a more active role in the investigation, they could miraculously find out the cause within hours and identify the bombers. Suddenly, all hell broke loose as the agents were ambushed and even though the SUV they were in flipped more times than I can count, none of the agents were hurt.
Somehow, only Leavitt was abducted from the wreaked SUV, making you wonder whey didn’t they go for all 4 of them. The obvious reason was to pave the way in the movie for the 3 other agents with the help of Colonel Ghazi to pursue their attackers. Their pursuit ended being boxed in a neighborhood alley where they were hit by bullets and rocket-propelled grenades from all directions. Somehow, the bullets from their shooters, including those from the top of buildings could not even gaze any of the agents but the agents’ returned fire were all deadly accurate.
The movie also included a scene “a la Daniel Pearl” where Leavitt was captured to be beheaded but somehow the captors keep screwing things up to allow just enough time for Mayes to show up and blow up their heads.
At the end, ‘goodness’ triumph over ‘evil’. All four agents survived and Colonel Ghazi was the only casualty from the ‘good’ side.
My View – The Kingdom was an extremely entertaining movie, the finale of the movie was almost like “Black Hawk Down” but the movie lacked depth and it failed miserably in realism. Under the current Saudi Laws, it would be impossible for Special Agent Janet Mayes to walk in the local streets dressed as she did. Secondly, it is unreal that they were able to solve the case so easily and thirdly, it is really absurd that none of the agents got hit when they were boxed in during the final battle.
Nevertheless, with nothing worthy to watch in the cinema scene during mid November, “The Kingdom” definitely is the One Eye King.
Note – while making this movie, Lance Gunnin a construction worker was killed in a motorcycle crash on his way to work on the set, Thomas Aguilar a prop maker, died a week after admitting to the hospital for stomach problem which was diagnosed as prostate cancer and finally Nick Papac, a prop master died in an on set collision between a SUV and a crew vehicle. These are the unsung heroes of a movie.