Blu-ray Review: The Kingdom

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The Kingdom
Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Review By Jerry Rutledge

The Kingdom is a taut, international thrill ride of a movie.  I highly recommend it to the movie collector interested in war and espionage movies, or anyone interested in the politics and culture of the Middle East and its recent history.

The movie opens with a short timeline that establishes the United States dependence on Saudi Arabian oil.  This is followed by scenes of Americans, who work for U.S. oil companies, playing baseball in a Saudi Arabian security compound.  They are being observed through the binoculars of a terrorist mastermind, who coordinates brutal drive by shootings of the Americans.   F.B.I. agents who are already posted in Saudi Arabia gather at the scene of the shootings surrounded by the wounded and a growing crowd of survivors looking for answers.

Back in the United States, special F.B.I. agent Ronald Fleury (Jamie Foxx) must pull diplomatic strings to fly to Saudi Arabia and still is only given five days to solve the crime with his investigative team — Grant Sykes (Chris Cooper), an explosives expert with a disarming country demeanor able to pull others together at the crime scene to help him; Janet Mayes (Jennifer Garner), a medical expert disturbed by the violence around her, but also an expert in hand-to-hand and small arms combat; and Adam Leavitt (Jason Bateman), a sarcastic computer expert.

Fleury befriends Colonel Faris Al Ghazi (Ashraf Barhom) who becomes a part of his team.  Director Peter Berg takes time to show the similarities between the two men – both are deeply devoted family men and want to bring the killers to justice.   This friendship opens new doors to Fleury as he works to close in on the mastermind, sometimes even having to work past the machinations of his own government, interested more in expediancy than justice. As the team gets closer to finding the mastermind, they put their personal safety on the line.

The high-def Blu-ray  presentation of the firefight during the final 30 minutes of the film is truly breathtaking and your eyes will be fixed to the screen.Extra features include: The Mission Dossier, overviews of investigative files and notes and 3D surveillance visuals of the action as you watch the movie; picture in picture cast interviews and behind the scenes footage as you watch the movie; the ability to watch the explosive confrontation with terrorists near the end of the firm from different character’s points of view; deleted scenes; mini-documentaries on creating the movie and commentary from the director.

The Kingdom is also available packaged with Jarhead as part of Universal’s Action Thriller Starter Pack.  For an extra $5.00 on Amazon.com, it is worth it to get the two-pack and snag the second movie.

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