Skip to main content

The Kingdom

Hollywood has finally dished out a movie about terrorism without the "fighting for freedom and democracy" cliche. As I had once blogged about the movie "World Trade Center", America and Hollywood will have to deal with the issues up front. The producers of "Kingdom" have to be commended for making a movie that at least tries to do that.

At least the movie was shot in the Middle East and of course it wasn't Saudi Arabia but a nearby country. The opening terrorist attack scene on a Western housing complex was as realistic as a movie can be. And this is not a film about US troops storming the Kingdom (the Saudis wouldn't allow that) but an FBI team lead by Jamie Foxx' character, Chris Cooper as the southern toughie, Jennifer Garner as the woman agent who in the end did in one of the Jihadis was sent to do a forensic investigation with the blessings of a Saudi prince. Israeli actor Ashraf Barhom has a scintillating role as the Saudi cop who was first instructed to keep the FBI agents on a tight leash but as the details of the terrorist plot and attack began to emerge, got the prince to relent a bit and the investigation proceeded as much as the Americans wanted.

The movie gives as a slice of Saudi society and the inequities with it (5000 princes each with humongous palaces paid for by oil companies). We get to see a look into a Muslim family both before and after the climactic shootout scenes. Also we get to see that Americans are not as culturally sensitive as they should be.

The end scenes were your typical Hollywood fare. After the US embassy had ordered the FBI agents home, their convoy was attacked by terrorists and you have the RPG shootouts. Here Garner (who as done action before) was good. Of course you can guess what happened. The shootout scenes should make moviegoers shout expletives. The whole shebang does look like a scene from a future Rambo remake!

But in the end, both Foxx's character and the grandaughter of the Big Old Jihadist honcho would say the usual "I'd like to kill them all" line in revenge films. This leads us to reflect on the meaning of vengeance. Major religions have teachings that say vengeance is best left to the Deity. But the film does seem to make Richard Dawkins believable. Why does belief in God result in these things? But of course belief in no God has resulted in the same things.

Perhaps an asteroid hitting the Kingdom, Washington DC, etc or better yet the whole planet and sending our species into the fossil record may be the answer. Or as that Twilight Zone episode "A Small Talent for War" suggests, we get zapped by aliens!


Popular posts from this blog

President Manuel Luis Quezon's Code of Ethics

Being a denizen of Kyusi, in honour of the man who gave my city its name and for being the most colourful prez the Philippines ever had, I have the pleasure to post Manuel L Quezon's Code of Ethics on his birthday. Let us profit from the wisdom of the Kastila.

1. Have Faith in the Divine Providence that guides the destinies of men and nations.

2. Love your country for it is the home of your people, the seat of your affection and the source of your happiness and well-being. It's defense is your primary duty. Be ready to sacrifice and die for it if necessary.

3. Respect the Constitution which is the expression of your sovereign will. The government is your government. It has been established for your safety and welfare. Obey the laws and see that they are observed by all and that public officials comply with their duties.

4. Pay your taxes willingly and promptly. Citizenship implies not only rights but obligations.

5. Safeguard the purity of suffrage and abide by the decisions of the…

Simoun's lamp has been lit, finally.. not by one but by the many!

"So often have we been haunted by the spectre of subversion which, with some fostering, has come to be a positive and real being, whose very name steals our serenity and makes us commit the greatest blunders... If before the reality, instead of changing the fear of one is increased, and the confusion of the other is exacerbated, then they must be left in the hands of time..."
Dr Jose Rizal "To the Filipino People and their Government"
Jose Rizal dominates the Luneta, which is sacred to the Philippine nation as a place of martyrdom. And many perhaps all of those executed in the Luneta, with the exception of the three Filipino secular priests martyred in 1872, have read Rizal's El Filibusterismo. Dr Rizal's second novel is a darker and more sinister one that its prequel but has much significance across the century and more after it was published for it preaches the need for revolution with caveats,  which are when the time is right and who will instigate it.

Flame trees in bloom

The hottest summer courtesy of El Nino in at least 10 years gave runners and walkers in the University of the Philippines Diliman campus a visual treat. This year the flame trees Delonix regia are in full bloom!
In past summers it wasn't as hot and dry so the trees did not shed their leaves and few blooms were produced.
It is the tropical version of the Japanese Hanami or the Cherry blossom viewing season. While Hanami tells us the fragile impermanence of beauty, the flame tree hanami tells us that summer burns but soon it will all be over.