Rama’s Screen: Review of The Kingdom

Welcome to our weekly column by YSN member and movie aficionado Rama Tampubolon. He runs the movie review and discussion blog, Rama’s Screen, and was featured in “United 300,” which won for “Best Spoof” at the 2007 MTV Movie Awards. He’ll discuss the latest hot topics and movie reviews every Thursday on Waste Time Wisely.

Rama’s SCREEN went to the advanced screening and here is the early review of THE KINGDOM. I think it’s fair to say that this movie closes summer blockbuster season and opens for the Oscar-worthy movies season. And this is definitely a great way to start it. When a movie has all star cast in it, that could mean either two things:… The movie’s going to be a downer or it’s going to be one of the best you’ve seen in quite some time. Fortunately for us we have The Bourne Ultimatum and The Kingdom to remind us that thrillers are back and kickin’ it. But unlike ‘Bourne’ movies, we won’t have to be dizzy from all the shaky hand-held camera work while watching this new Jamie Foxx flick.

A U.S. compound in Saudi Arabia has been attacked by terrorist. An elite team of FBI agents (Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Garner, Chris Cooper, and Jason Bateman) is sent to the place to help investigate. They face difficulties of culture and politics but eventually earn the trust and friendship of a local officer who helps them make their five-day visit ends with results.

This is an excellent first-rate action/thriller. It has an interesting interaction between U.S. and Saudi government and how different both cultures are. The dialog is smart and full of political intrigue that just keeps the mind thinking and the heart on the edge. They went the distance to give us the view of Saudi Arabia that give home to allies and enemies.

THE KINGDOM does have enough violent and strong language to keep younger audience at home instead of the theaters watching this, but for those of you who love movies that get you going in intense suspense with surprises on every corner, this is definitely the movie for you to watch. There’s an excellent scene, which I thought was really well done, where the vehicle’s trapped in the middle of a small town and all of a sudden weapons and rocket launchers just come out of nowhere, you’d never guess what big firepower they might have next all for attacking purposes.

The investigation part in the middle of this movie does feel a bit drawn out at times, it’s kinda like CSI but about terrorism instead of crime of passion murders. But THE KINGDOM has enough humor and punch lines that often would break the tension and seriousness and keep the audience entertained. This movie helps this summer go out with a bang.

Director Peter Berg (Friday Night Lights), who also made a cameo appearance in this movie (as one of the guys who had a question in the briefing room at the beginning), managed to combine all elements and present them in both violent and preachy ways. You can argue on whether or not Matthew Michael Carnahan’s script tells of a story that’s pro-American and anti-Muslim. But I see it not so much as that as it is about how two sides can be good and bad at the same time. Evil or not, generally a father would love his own family/people first and foremost just as much as the next person and would only think of what’s best for them even if it means killing those he thinks is a threat to what is considered the right way to live. It’s an endless violent cycle that will keep on going, resulting in people killing people, because of what we tell and teach our kids and one another. Is anybody the better side, is anybody the higher value?

Maybe the problem will stop when no one initiates the first attack.

The movies does bring out a point I agree with… anyone who can sleep knowing that he/she has killed innocent children is someone who doesn’t deserve to live.

For more, visit your most reliable movie buff: Rama’s SCREEN