Tuesday, August 26, 2008
REVIEW: The Kingdom
Director: Peter Berg
Starring: Jamie Foxx, Jason Bateman, Jennifer Garner, Chris Cooper, Ashraf Barhom
Distributor: Universal Pictures
MPAA: Rated R
When I first heard of The Kingdom, I wasn't really impressed. I thought the first trailer looked alright, but nothing too amazing. It was the second trailer, Universal released that got me excited to see this film. I thought the story looked cool and the actors looked pretty solid. Still, I opted for the DVD release because of the films mixed reviews. They weren't bad, but just not great as I would have hoped for.
An FBI team arrives to investigate the bombings that recently happened in Saudi Arabia, but find themselves limited to what they can do, due to the relationship between the US and Saudi Arabia. As a bond develops between special agent Fleury (Jamie Foxx) and Col. Ghazi (Ashraf Barhom) the investigation leads towards a terrorist called Abu Hamza. It is up to agent Fleury plus his team and Col. Ghazi to find Abu Hamza and stop him.
The story starts out with these cool artwork of images that basically set up the movie. As we continue forward, the story gets really interesting and intense. We get wonderful views of Saudi Arabia that really just add to the intensity of the films story. The plot of the film isn't really knew and has been done before. Their are parts where we get some introduction words on the bottom right that kind of tell us who this person is and what there doing, but they aren't needed because they don't really help. The action is nice and spread out pretty evenly so you don't really get bored. I didn't find director Peter Berg's style of camera shooting to be all that great. At times, it can be really effective and really immersing. Than their are times where it kind of gets annoying because of its constant shaking. If their is one thing about the film's story that I found to be somewhat problematic, its the alternative. The film never really explains the other (Saudi) side of the story. It would have helped if we knew what the other (Saudi) side was thinking about or what their plans were. With that said, the film is still pretty damn entertaining. Everything blows up the way it should and we never get any moments to stop breathing.
The acting in The Kingdom is nicely solid. Jamie Foxx plays as Ronald Fleury and he does a good job here. I really enjoyed his character and thought he was a great choice to be playing this part. Jason Bateman plays as Adam Leavitt and he too does a good job here. His character wasn't annoying or distracting. I thought he fit well with everyone else and he gave an enjoyable performance. Jennifer Garner plays as Janet Mayes and she does alright. I'm not particularly sure if she was the ideal choice to be playing this part, but I think she does an OK job in her role. Chris Cooper plays as Grant Sykes and he also does a great job. Hes second to Fox in terms of performance. I think he was a great addition to this story. We also have Ashraf Barhom playing as Colonel Faris Al Ghazi. I think he does a good job in this role even though his character is mostly some kind of balance to the films story.
The visual look of the film is pretty great. The film was released late last year so its film source is in good shape. Film grain is mostly condensed to a minimum and hardly gets in the way of things. Colors are somewhat oversaturated and kind of dull. They aren't as vibrant as I would have liked them to be and not really flashy. Even though the explosions look wonderful, most of the film was filmed outside in the hot weather and it doesn't result in a good eye popping experience. Black levels are generally strong and hold up well. Flesh tones are spot on and have that warm feeling to them. Detail is pretty great and shows alot of clarity. Close up shots reveal a good amount of detail and everything looks the way it should.
The music in The Kingdom is pretty much none existent. Theirs hardly a score for the film and generally it feels somewhat quite. This comes as a disappointment seeing as how the trailers all had good music in them. I mean wheres that music by U2 that played during the recent trailer for the film? I know this is a dialogue driven film, but it would have been great to have some music during the action scenes. The Kingdom features a good bass mix. A film like this is bound to have some killer bass and it somewhat does. The bass goes nicely well with the films great explosions. Gun shots are easily heard and deliver a good amount of intensity to them.
I really thought The Kingdom was going to be another boring movie about war, but I was really surprised to find another good popcorn flick. The story is very entertaining and pretty engaging. The cast is very solid and most of them deliver some good performances. The visual look of the film is pretty great and consist of good amount of detail. The soundtrack is lacking music which definitely would have been better, but it makes up for it in its bass. I enjoyed The Kingdom and can recommend it to those seeking a fun movie. Its action packed and filled with many parts that should keep you interested and strapped to your seat.