Hollywood's latest fight-the-terrorists-flick, "The Kingdom," isn't as cheesy and faux patriotic as it easily could be, but isn't as interesting as it could be, either.
Jamie Foxx is an FBI agent in charge of a rapid response investigation team. When an American compound in Saudi Arabia is brutally attacked by a terrorist cell and filmed for the latest installment of "Terror Training Tape TV," he and a few members of his team volunteer to investigate. But who knew? Saudi Arabia isn't Salem, Ore., and sending some American agents to a foreign country just doesn't appeal to either the Saudi royalty or the brass at the Attorney General's office.
Several scenes "? expertly crafted by director Peter Berg ("Friday Night Lights," "The Rundown") "? make you sick with anticipation. Terrorism "? and the socioeconomic, cultural and religious views behind it "? is a tricky subject to dissect on film, and American filmmakers surely never get it quite right. It's never as simple as bad guys or good guys, but the reasoning and cold, purposeful determination of these terrorist masterminds is often too hard to explain in two hours, and "The Kingdom" suffers a similar fate.
Scenes of suicide bombers packing nails and bolts into explosives to wreak maximum carnage, and forcing a young boy to watch as 100 infidels are evaporated by an explosion, are truly sickening. Entertaining, sometimes gripping and often cringe-inducing, "The Kingdom" doesn't quite hold the throne, but deserves a place within the castle walls.