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The Kingdom 2007

Critics score:
51 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Sid Smith, Chicago Tribune: 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

J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader: At its core this is just another piece of big-studio nothingness. Read more

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

John Hartl, Seattle Times: The Kingdom does suggest the potential to mix action and the complexity of Middle East politics in a revealing fashion. It simply fails to establish its central characters properly. Read more

Scott Tobias, AV Club: The Kingdom offers the war on terrorism we wanted to fight -- with clear, identifiable enemies; rock-solid intelligence; and precise deployment of American might -- instead of the one we're stuck with. Read more

Randy Cordova, Arizona Republic: It's an overused phrase, but it's true when it comes to The Kingdom. This smart, caffeinated thriller will have you sitting on the edge of your seat. Read more

Ty Burr, Boston Globe: A taut, slickly made thriller. Read more

Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times: 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

Amy Biancolli, Houston Chronicle: It's clear that Berg wants to humanize the Saudis, but I suspect much of this nuance will get blown to smithereens in a firestorm of bullets. Read more

Tom Charity, CNN.com: The Kingdom works as an exotic action thriller, but its politics are so choked on checks and balances it cancels itself out. Read more

Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor: The blam-blam histrionics devalue the verity. Read more

Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post: Actor-director Peter Berg's action-loaded, idea-embracing political thriller starring Jamie Foxx doesn't skirt post 9/11 tensions. Read more

Tom Long, Detroit News: From a literally explosive beginning to its high-octane end, The Kingdom is rocking-good mainstream moviemaking: painfully topical, edge-of-the-seat thrilling and totally engrossing. Read more

Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly: 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

Jonathan F. Richards, Film.com: When it's got the pedal to the metal, which is a substantial fraction of the running time, The Kingdom delivers the goods. Read more

Terry Lawson, Detroit Free Press: A lot of satisfying, entertaining action pictures have only an artificial brain to power the machinery. The Kingdom is the opposite: It's a smart picture with much to say. But in the end, it elects not to say it. Read more

Chris Vognar, Dallas Morning News: The Kingdom has its cake, eats it, then blows it up with an RPG. Read more

Christy Lemire, Associated Press: Shot in the 115-degree heat of Arizona and on location in Abu Dhabi, it has a visual intensity and intimacy reminiscent of Michael Mann. Read more

Bruce Newman, San Jose Mercury News: The movie pretends to be a dramatic exploration of the gulf of mutual suspicion that has grown from the oil alliance between the United States and Saudi Arabia. In the most superficial way imaginable, it does that. Read more

Jan Stuart, Newsday: Screenwriter Matthew Michael Carnahan wants us to know that there are good Arabs and bad Arabs, but he panders to our basest 9/11 anxieties. Read more

David Ansen, Newsweek: Both discordant and disingenuous, this faux-profound final note suggests that Berg and screenwriter Matthew Michael Carnahan don't know what kind of movie they've actually made -- or would like to pretend they've made another kind. Read more

Anthony Lane, New Yorker: If Frank Capra had ever made a Rambo movie, it would have looked like this. Read more

David Edelstein, New York Magazine/Vulture: Sensationally directed by Peter Berg. Read more

Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger: Whether or not Americans are ready for a popcorn thriller about real-life terrorism is yet to be seen. But that's basically the sort of solid, episodic-TV level at which the film operates. Read more

Jack Mathews, New York Daily News: Does it feel real? No. Is it fun? Yes. Will it win the war? Hey, I see light at the end of the tunnel. Read more

Lou Lumenick, New York Post: A xenophobic, overblown, revenge-driven action thriller that exports the Rambo mentality to the contemporary Middle East. Read more

Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel: This is loose history but gripping drama, an action thrill ride ready-made for C.S.I. Nation, braced with stunning shoot-outs and chases. Read more

Carrie Rickey, Philadelphia Inquirer: Propelled by The Kingdom's sheer velocity, I was with it for its thrilling first two acts. It doesn't hurt that the gallows humor humanizes the characters of the ensemble. Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: 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

Stephanie Zacharek, Salon.com: The picture is made with a degree of care, and what's surprising about it is the way [director] Berg actually resists making rah-rah jingoistic proclamations instead of relying on them. Read more

Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle: After outdoing himself in the opening sequence, director Peter Berg, who appears briefly as an FBI honcho, overdoes everything that follows. Read more

Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune: I left the theater completely uncertain about what the filmmakers intended to say about the orgiastic bloodshed they showed me. The Kingdom is an explosion of rage in search of a rationale. Read more

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Read more

Rob Nelson, Chicago Sun-Times: One could say [director Peter Berg] shoots first and asks questions later, if at all. Read more

Liam Lacey, Globe and Mail: A barely coherent compendium of Middle East fantasies, fears and doubts. Read more

Peter Howell, Toronto Star: The Kingdom may be the most potent counter-programming of the year, even though it has no patience with such sissy-pants concerns. Read more

Richard Corliss, TIME Magazine: Everything moves so much and so fast that the movie seems both gutsy and brainy. But the main strategy is to keep viewers' pulses racing so they concentrate on the action, not the message. Read more

Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out: Read more

Dave Calhoun, Time Out: A terrifically stupid film. Dumb, dumb, dumb. Read more

Claudia Puig, USA Today: It attempts to say something profound about the war on terrorism and the human tendency toward an us-vs.-them mentality. But the finale feeds on a sense of bloodlust and then tries to pull back to show us the error of maniacal revenge. Read more

John Anderson, Variety: Where pic goes astray is in turning anonymous, indigenous peoples into ducks at a shooting gallery. Read more

J. Hoberman, Village Voice: ...the movie's main satisfaction is the utopian spectacle of wounded Americans heading home, mission accomplished. Read more

Desson Thomson, Washington Post: 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