I saw this film two weeks in advance and wrote a rave review. Thus, I was disappointed after its opening weekend that it got a mixed bag of critiques. This is still, in my opinion, the best action film of the year. It’s an intense, riveting cinematic experience I won’t soon forget. I’ll still commend director Peter Berg for taking on this project. Even though many critics didn’t like the film, I admire any director that has the balls to make a controversial film like this and tell it like it is. The film depicts two different cultures with many different views and beliefs and they are at war with each other right now. It’s that simple.
Many critics took the easy way out by negatively comparing it to CSI. I don’t watch the show so that isn’t really pertinent to me; but I knew that would happen. Others said that the Muslims are depicted as lesser beings and that all of them are are viewed as bad guys. Well, what about the character of Colonel Faris Al Ghazi? He’s not a terrorist, in fact, by the time the movie is over with, he is viewed as a hero. I thought he was an insightful character and showed a clear difference between himself and a radical. It’s not how they’re alike, but how they’re different.
I was fully involved with the film throughout. I thought the script was tightly written with a good setup. Berg and writer Matthew Michael Carnahan do a fine job of keeping the story moving while at the same time comparing two vastly different cultures. Then there’s the final jaw-dropping thirty minutes that are nothing short of a glorious payoff.
For a single disc DVD, The Kingdom is well worth your money. The DVD has over three hours of bonus features that includes insightful commentary from director Peter Berg. There are also some very good deleted scenes that made me wonder why they were excised. There’s also a very neat feature called The Apartment Shootout which shows that sequence from the perspective of each main character. Other features include two documentaries, Constructing the Freeway Sequence and Creating the Kingdom, and History of the Kingdom: An Interactive Timeline. Languages include Spanish and French, subtitles include English, Spanish, and French.