The Kingdom Reviews
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.