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The Kingdom Reviews

Joshua Rothkopf
Time Out New York
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Full Review Source: Time Out New York | Original Score: 2/6

January 18, 2008
Tom Charity
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The Kingdom works as an exotic action thriller, but its politics are so choked on checks and balances it cancels itself out.

Full Review Source:

November 30, 2007
Jonathan F. Richards
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When it's got the pedal to the metal, which is a substantial fraction of the running time, The Kingdom delivers the goods.

Full Review Source:

October 7, 2007
David Edelstein
New York Magazine
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Sensationally directed by Peter Berg.

Full Review Source: New York Magazine

October 6, 2007
Dave Calhoun
Time Out
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A terrifically stupid film. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

Full Review Source: Time Out | Original Score: 1/6

October 5, 2007
Richard Corliss
TIME Magazine
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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.

Full Review Source: TIME Magazine

October 2, 2007
Rob Nelson
Chicago Sun-Times
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One could say [director Peter Berg] shoots first and asks questions later, if at all.

Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Original Score: 2/4

October 1, 2007
Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
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See this movie, but take a motion sickness pill first.

October 1, 2007

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
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September 29, 2007
Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
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The Kingdom comes down to a police procedural, and one whose procedures prove none too interesting.

Full Review Source: Wall Street Journal

September 28, 2007
Claudia Puig
USA Today
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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.

Full Review Source: USA Today | Original Score: 2.5/4

September 28, 2007
Peter Howell
Toronto Star
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The Kingdom may be the most potent counter-programming of the year, even though it has no patience with such sissy-pants concerns.

Full Review Source: Toronto Star | Original Score: 3/4

September 28, 2007
John Hartl
Seattle Times
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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.

Full Review Source: Seattle Times | Original Score: 2/4

September 28, 2007
Bruce Newman
San Jose Mercury News
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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.

Full Review Source: San Jose Mercury News | Original Score: 2/4

September 28, 2007
Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
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After outdoing himself in the opening sequence, director Peter Berg, who appears briefly as an FBI honcho, overdoes everything that follows.

Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle | Original Score: 2/4

September 28, 2007
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
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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.

Full Review Source: Newark Star-Ledger | Original Score: 2.5/4

September 28, 2007
Lou Lumenick
New York Post
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A xenophobic, overblown, revenge-driven action thriller that exports the Rambo mentality to the contemporary Middle East.

Full Review Source: New York Post | Original Score: 1.5/4

September 28, 2007
Jack Mathews
New York Daily News
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Does it feel real? No. Is it fun? Yes. Will it win the war? Hey, I see light at the end of the tunnel.

Full Review Source: New York Daily News | Original Score: 2.5/4

September 28, 2007
Connie Ogle
Miami Herald
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Though its violence is searing and brutal, the film shows a conscience and a brain, and if it explains things a bit simplistically at times, so much the better.

| Original Score: 3/4

September 28, 2007
Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
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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.

Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times | Original Score: 2.5/5

September 28, 2007
Amy Biancolli
Houston Chronicle
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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.

Full Review Source: Houston Chronicle | Original Score: 2.5/4

September 28, 2007
Tom Long
Detroit News
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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.

Full Review Source: Detroit News | Original Score: B+

September 28, 2007
Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
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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.

Full Review Source: Detroit Free Press | Original Score: 2/4

September 28, 2007
Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
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Actor-director Peter Berg's action-loaded, idea-embracing political thriller starring Jamie Foxx doesn't skirt post 9/11 tensions.

Full Review Source: Denver Post | Original Score: 3/4

September 28, 2007
Chris Vognar
Dallas Morning News
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The Kingdom has its cake, eats it, then blows it up with an RPG.

Full Review Source: Dallas Morning News | Original Score: B-

September 28, 2007
Sid Smith
Chicago Tribune
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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.

Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune | Original Score: 2.5/4

September 28, 2007
J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
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At its core this is just another piece of big-studio nothingness.

Full Review Source: Chicago Reader

September 28, 2007
Ty Burr
Boston Globe
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A taut, slickly made thriller.

Full Review Source: Boston Globe | Original Score: 2.5/4

September 28, 2007
Randy Cordova
Arizona Republic
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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.

Full Review Source: Arizona Republic | Original Score: 4.5/5

September 28, 2007
Liam Lacey
Globe and Mail
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A barely coherent compendium of Middle East fantasies, fears and doubts.

Full Review Source: Globe and Mail | Original Score: 2/4

September 28, 2007
A.O. Scott
New York Times
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A slick, brutishly effective genre movie: Syriana for dummies.

| Original Score: 3/5

September 28, 2007
Carrie Rickey
Philadelphia Inquirer
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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.

Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer | Original Score: 2.5/4

September 28, 2007
Stephanie Zacharek
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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.

Full Review Source:

September 27, 2007
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
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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.

Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune | Original Score: 1.5/4

September 27, 2007
Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
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The blam-blam histrionics devalue the verity.

Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor | Original Score: B-

September 27, 2007
Desson Thomson
Washington Post
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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.

Full Review Source: Washington Post

September 27, 2007
Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
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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.

Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel | Original Score: 4/5

September 27, 2007
Jan Stuart
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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.

Full Review Source: Newsday | Original Score: 2/4

September 27, 2007
David Ansen
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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.

Full Review Source: Newsweek

September 26, 2007
James Berardinelli
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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.

Full Review Source: ReelViews | Original Score: 3/4

September 26, 2007
Christy Lemire
Associated Press
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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.

Full Review Source: Associated Press

September 26, 2007
Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
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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.

Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly | Original Score: C-

September 26, 2007
J. Hoberman
Village Voice
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...the movie's main satisfaction is the utopian spectacle of wounded Americans heading home, mission accomplished.

Full Review Source: Village Voice

September 25, 2007
Anthony Lane
New Yorker
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If Frank Capra had ever made a Rambo movie, it would have looked like this.

Full Review Source: New Yorker

September 24, 2007
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
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[Director] Berg stages every ambush, gun battle and car chase as if his life depends on it. The Kingdom could have been a jingoistic CSI: Riyadh, and sometimes it is.

| Original Score: 3/4

September 20, 2007
Stephen Farber
Hollywood Reporter
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Peter Berg's movie is no more than an action movie with an exotic backdrop. That would be fine, if only the movie were more exciting.

September 14, 2007
John Anderson
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Where pic goes astray is in turning anonymous, indigenous peoples into ducks at a shooting gallery.

Full Review Source: Variety

September 11, 2007
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