The Kingdom

mmlkI was hoping this would be a good movie and it was great. It’s a good action movie with lots of machine gun fire, explosions, and tension. There were also a few laugh-out-loud moments, and therefore pretty much everything I want in an action movie.
I won my bet with myself that there would be no sign of a Hans Wehr dictionary. None of the Americans on the FBI forensic team purported to be a speaker of Arabic. Jason Bateman’s character browsed terrorist web sites but showed no signs of understanding the language. Jennifer Garner and Chris Cooper each spoke one word of Arabic, mimicking something a Saudi had just said to them. Near the end of the movie Garner’s character inexplicably uses a couple words (“ma laysh!”) of dialect semi-appropriately, but there never was any explanation of where she would have learned that. I imagine they edited out some scenes that explained it.
The Saudi characters spoke a lot of Arabic, so that was really nice for people like me who enjoy that kind of thing.
It hit me as I was watching that Jason Bateman looks alarmingly like he could morph into Chris Cooper in a few decades.
Don’t read any more if you don’t like spoilers.
One minor downside was the occasional pandering “won’t anyone think of the children?!” moments, but they were few and mostly bookended at the beginning and end.
If, like me, you’re sick to death of movie writing where the female character has a pathological nurturing instinct (like in a monster movie where a bloodthirsty, vicious monster that looks like a subterranean insect brutally rips a dozen people into shreds and spins a cocoon on their shattered corpses, then morphs right in front of your eyes into a small, big-eyed child, and the female character, who witnesses the carnage as well as the morphing, voices something like, “Oh, look, see, it’s just a cute little boy. Let’s take it home in the spaceship with us””), you won’t like a scene near the end where Jennifer Garner does something about as foolish.
The forensic team does a little bit of this, a little bit of that, making me wonder what kind of FBI agent, exactly, is equally comfortable plucking shrapnel out of dead people and firing a machine gun willy-nilly at real, live people. The most amazing thing about them is their imperviousness to explosive blasts, machine-gun fire, and being flipped over in a vehicle over and over at very high speeds.
None of which means I didn’t like the movie. It was awesome! and I’m looking forward to seeing it again.
A second opinion never hurts. Here’s a link to a good review in the Miami Herald:

1 Comment

Filed under arab, arabian, arabic, arabist, language, movies and shows, Saudi Arabia

One response to “The Kingdom

  1. goblin

    When Jennifer Garner recognized the marble for what it was, I found it inexplicably poor tactics to not make sure that the apartment was clear of armed evil-doers. But it was a great action movie. The Saudi policeman was an appealing character.

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