Reviews - The Kingdom (2007)
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The Kingdom (2007)

Country: USA, Germany

Genres: Action, Drama, Thriller

Taglines: Trust No One

Director: Peter Berg

Writers: Matthew Michael Carnahan

Stars: Jamie Foxx, Chris Cooper, Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman, ...

After a terrorist attack on an American housing compound in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where families and FBI Agent Francis Manner are murdered, FBI agent Ronald Fleury blackmails the Saudi Arabian consul to get five days of investigation in the location. He travels with agent Grant Sykes, Janet Mayes and Adam Leavitt to avenge their friend and try to find those responsible for the bombing. The agents find all sorts of difficulties in their investigation, but they are supported by Colonel Faris Al Ghazi that advises the team how to act in a hostile environment.

83 | Michael Sragow

Berg doesn't let up on the tension, even when the action is bloodless.
Read More: Baltimore Sun

80 | Helen O'Hara

Not quite as smart as it wants to be, and a better action movie than it is a political thriller, this is still a heart-pounding drama.
Read More: Empire

75 | James Berardinelli

Overall, the film is smart and engaging, and if it plays a little on our fears of the next big terrorist attack, it does so without feeling exploitative.
Read More: ReelViews

75 | Peter Travers

Matthew Michael Carnahan's caffeinated script isn't much concerned with balance, but it gets some anyway, from the resonant images of culture clash that Berg catches on the fly and a remarkable performance from Ashraf Barhom.
Read More: Rolling Stone

75 | Lawrence Toppman

Director Peter Berg and first-time writer Matthew Michael Carnahan do a smooth, efficient job of storytelling most of the way.
Read More: Charlotte Observer

75 | Connie Ogle

Though its violence is searing and brutal, the film, about four FBI agents investigating a terrorist attack in Saudi Arabia, shows a conscience and a brain, and if it explains things a bit simplistically at times, so much the better.
Read More: Miami Herald

75 | William Arnold

Foxx is magnetic in the lead, and the subplot in which he bonds with his Saudi police liaison (Ashraf Barhom, giving the movie's best performance) is touching.
Read More: Seattle Post-Intelligencer

70 | John Anderson

A realist thriller that mixes crowd-pleasing mayhem with provocative politics.
Read More: Variety

70 | J. Hoberman

A timely--if tepid--fantasy of American vengeance on the Qutbian extremists of Saudi Arabia.
Read More: Village Voice

70 | David Edelstein

Sensationally directed by Peter Berg, it’s a combination forensics detective movie (car bomb blows up secure American compound in Saudi Arabia--who dunnit and how can we stop him from doing it again?) and red-meat waste-the-terrorists action picture.
Read More: New York Magazine (Vulture)

70 | David Ansen

As a genre movie, The Kingdom delivers atmosphere, heroic American derring-do and some decent thrills, though director Peter Berg's approximation of a jerky documentary style suffers from its proximity to the more textured "Bourne Ultimatum."
Read More: Newsweek

70 | Stephanie Zacharek

The Kingdom is distasteful in several obvious and irrefutable ways: For one thing, the idea of setting an action-thriller against terrorist activity that's all too close to real-life events is simply opportunistic and creepy.
Read More: Salon.com

70 | A.O. Scott

The result is a slick, brutishly effective genre movie: “Syriana” for dummies. Which is not entirely a put-down.
Read More: The New York Times

70 | Richard Corliss

Director Peter Berg cannily hypes the tension and the sentiment in the only one of the current Middle East political movies designed to appeal to the action crowd. Hard truths are absorbed while stuff blows up.
Read More: Time

67 | Peter Rainer

The filmmakers's attempts to balance out the gung-ho shoot-'em-ups with an overlay of "fairness" are rudimentary. The movie works us into a frenzy of righteous revenge, it makes us cheer each kill by the FBI warriors, and then it tells us that this violence only breeds more violence.
Read More: Christian Science Monitor

67 | Marc Mohan

Wants to be both a hot-button, ripped-from-the-headlines statement movie and a crowd-pleasing, rip-roaring action thriller. It ends up meeting each goal about halfway.
Read More: Portland Oregonian

63 | Claudia Puig

Director Peter Berg's frenetic style heightens tension and a sense of disorientation. But some will find its chaotic quality dizzying and off-putting.
Read More: USA Today

63 | Ty Burr

The movie ends on a plaintive can’t-we-all-get-along note, but at heart it’s a Charles Bronson flick. It mashes the revenge button the real world won’t let us push.
Read More: Boston Globe

63 | Sid Smith

The Kingdom has a heart and a viewpoint. It’s a thrill ride with a lingering thought or two in its wake. But the explosions, breakneck chases, daredevil escapes and predictability about which side will be victorious remain its foremost mission.
Read More: Chicago Tribune

63 | Jack Mathews

Berg has an excellent eye for violent extravaganza and the action - especially a 10-15 minute set piece midway through - is as cleansing as a high colonic.
Read More: New York Daily News

63 | Carrie Rickey

Ultimately, this jingo-bingo action thriller squarely hits its target, then delivers a delayed-action message contrary to everything that has preceded it. Berg heroizes the plucky Americans, but in the closing scenes of his ripping action flick, sucker-punches them. It's as if this populist Syriana frags itself.
Read More: Philadelphia Inquirer

63 | Ken Fox

Peter Berg's fast-talking and unnecessarily complicated tale of Middle East terrorism is more smoke and mirrors than meat. It may come on like Syriana, but it boils down to little more than a diverting episode of "CSI: Riyadh."
Read More: TV Guide Magazine

60 | Stephen Farber

Berg's movie is no more than an action movie with an exotic backdrop. That would be fine, if only the movie were more exciting. It succeeds neither as a pointed political commentary nor as a taut thriller.
Read More: The Hollywood Reporter

60 | Anthony Lane

A thumper of a movie, full of furious souls.
Read More: The New Yorker

60 | Kenneth Turan

THE Kingdom has some power but not enough sense. A ripped-from-today's-headlines thriller, it wants us to feel as if we're watching something relevant when what's really going on is a slick excuse for efficient mayhem that's not half as smart as it would like to be.
Read More: Los Angeles Times

50 | Marjorie Baumgarten

If the jingoism that permeates the latter half of The Kingdom does not sufficiently sour the experience of watching it, then the film's closing sentiments about the eternality of vengeance will surely do the trick.
Read More: Austin Chronicle

50 | Robert Wilonsky

The Kingdom is essentially "C.S.I.: Riyadh," starring Jamie Foxx in yet another movie his Oscar statue will watch with shame.
Read More: Dallas Observer

50 | Scott Tobias

The heroes of Peter Berg's gung-ho retribution tale are fighting the terrorists over there so we don't have to fight them here, but his film is indulging in a queasy brand of escapism. Winning imaginary wars isn't the same as winning real ones, but The Kingdom nonetheless smells like victory.
Read More: The A.V. Club

50 | Liam Lacey

The Kingdom is a barely coherent compendium of Middle East fantasies, fears and doubts.
Read More: The Globe and Mail (Toronto)

50 | Pete Vonder Haar

“Syriana's” dumber, louder cousin.
Read More: Film Threat

50 | Joe Morgenstern

The Kingdom comes down to a police procedural, and one whose procedures prove none too interesting.
Read More: Wall Street Journal

50 | Mick LaSalle

The opening is spectacular, but the rest is fairly routine.
Read More: San Francisco Chronicle

50 | Desson Thomson

One electrifying performance becomes the only saving grace of The Kingdom, a goofy action movie that tries to marry the blitzkrieg entertainment of "Rambo" to the cultural consciousness of "Syriana."
Read More: Washington Post

42 | Lisa Schwarzbaum

So shameless is The Kingdom, ignoring consequence and treating its audience like cash-dispensing machines with buttons to be pushed rather than thinking individuals willing to consider the reality of America's entanglement with the Middle East.
Read More: Entertainment Weekly

38 | Lou Lumenick

The opening montage raises expectations of a serious, politically incisive depiction of the region. What we actually get is an offensively pandering, Bruckheimer-esque riff on the real-life Khobar Towers bombing of 1996, a Saudi Hezbollah attack that killed 19 Americans.
Read More: New York Post

25 | Glenn Kenny

Its climactic highway shootout, and much else in the picture, is rendered in the best Paul Greengrass manner that Hollywood money can buy. But where Greengrass pictures aim to keep one on the edge of one's seat throughout, the tension here, such as it is, is designed to stoke audience bloodlust. If that's your kind of thing, The Kingdom certainly satisfies.
Read More: Premiere

10 | J.R. Jones

At its core this is just another piece of big-studio nothingness. The characters are so underwritten they barely qualify as types, and the movie is badly paced, bookended by high-ordnance action sequences but painfully static in the middle.
Read More: Chicago Reader