Not so much a commentary on America’s shall-we-say “bumpy” recent relations with the Middle East as a summary. A bomb blows up, American citizens are killed, and heavily-armed Americans go where they are not welcomed, where they don’t understand things, and eventually blow a lot of stuff up, with questionable results. “The Kingdom” compresses things to a terrorist attack on an American compound in Saudi Arabia, with the armed response coming from an FBI team. Once in Saudi Arabia, “The Kingdom” is essentially “Red Heat” all over again, with two police forces from different backgrounds learning to work together, although “Red Heat” gets its point across with more clarity and efficiency. As the lead FBI guy, Jamie Foxx has the Jim Belushi role, and Ashraf Barhom has the Schwarzenegger role; first they don’t get along, then they do. Chris Cooper dispenses wisdom, Jennifer Garner emotes, and Jason Bateman cracks wise. The middle section, of mostly culture clashing, is a little long in the tooth. Still, the gunfight at the end is a thing of beauty, as the combo FBI / Saudi police team machineguns its way through an apartment building. If the FBI had been attacked while driving out of the Saudi airport – skipping the whole middle section – I’d be giving “The Kingdom” a clear recommendation. The only commentary comes at the very end (SPOILERS!) when Foxx reveals that he came to the Middle East to “kill them all;” his confession is mirrored by two Saudi children swearing the same oath.
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