The Kingdom (15)

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

At the start of The Kingdom, a suicide bomb goes off in an American compound in Saudi Arabia, killing more than 100 men, women and children. In the current climate, it's not the kind of image you'd expect from a Hollywood film unless it had something deeply thoughtful and important to say about the Middle East. And yet The Kingdom doesn't say anything that couldn't be printed on a Texan's bumper sticker.

It's quickly established that the Saudi police are making a hash of the investigation. They even resort to torture, which is something Westerners would never do. America isn't supposed to interfere, but Jamie Foxx, an FBI agent with a grudge, won't be put off. He wangles his way into the country and on to the crime scene with his A-Team, played by Chris Cooper, Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman.

Most of The Kingdom is a standard detective thriller, in which the four gum-chewing, maverick Americans outmanoeuvre the superstitious, red-tape-tangled Arabs. And then, in the last 20 minutes, it turns into a gory action movie in which the four Americans prove that they're a hell of a lot better at shooting than Arabs are too.