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The Kingdom

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JAMIE FOXX as FBI team leader Ronald Fleury

The Kingdom “succeeds as both a shoot ‘em-up popcorn flick and a thoughtful study of culture clash.”

Universal’s engrossing new thriller The Kingdom follows an elite FBI squad (Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman and Chris Cooper) that is sent on a secret five-day mission to investigate a terrorist bombing at a U.S. housing compound in Riyadh. Facing resistance from his own government as well as the Saudis, FBI Special Agent Ronald Fleury (Foxx) finds an unlikely ally in the man who should be his greatest obstacle.

Colonel Al-Ghazi (Ashraf Barhom) is supposed to be the FBI team’s minder, the official who informs them of the rules and of what they can and cannot do. But these two cops soon find they are more like-minded than not, forging a union to hunt down the terrorist cell behind the bombings. An FBI team in a hostile territory is too tempting a target for the terrorists to resist, triggering a life-or-death struggle for our heroes to not only bring the bombers to justice but to also get home alive.

The Kingdom succeeds as both a shoot ‘em-up popcorn flick and a thoughtful study of culture clash. While director Peter Berg definitely keeps the emphasis on action and thrills, the script by Matthew Michael Carnahan offers a largely balanced and multi-dimensional view of the realm the American protagonists find themselves in. The story’s point that there is more that unites these two opposing cultures than divides them is explored through the nicely drawn relationship between Fleury and Al-Ghazi.

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