Movies: The Kingdom
In the world of political-action-thrillers, you can either skew heavily towards the story (like the rather muddled "Syriana") or heavily towards the action; "The Kingdom," directed by Peter Berg, takes the latter approach:
In the movie, Jamie Foxx and Co. journey to Saudi Arabia to track down a terrorist. In a way, it's sort of an idealized, utopian version of how terrorists are found in real life, but the deviations from real life ultimately create a kitschy atmosphere. I mean, doesn't Saudi Arabia have more experience investigating suicide bombers than an FBI team?
There's nothing wrong with explosions, car chases, and gunfights, but the plot here is pretty threadbare. I almost wish the movie were half an hour longer so it could be more complex. As it is, it feels like a carnival roller coaster that moves in a straight line and ends quickly. On the bright side, the action scenes are fairly realistic, though they lack the intensity of something like "Black Hawk Down," which shows the difference between a relative newbie like Peter Berg and an old warhorse like Ridley Scott.