Kingdom – HD DVD Review

kingdom Kingdom   HD DVD Review

Kingdom shows the shaky relationship between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia. Universal marketed the movie as an action packed but it is misleading. While the movie has some impressive action set-pieces, the story is the main attraction. From the get go, we get an impressive intro of the history of Saudi Arabia’s rise to wealth and the U.S. alliance.

Story consists of a deadly attack in an American compound in Saudi Arabia. An FBI team, lead by Ronald Fleury (Jamie Foxx) is sent to investigate. Along the way, Fleury’s team, which consists of Jeniffer Garner, Chris Cooper and Jason Bateman encounter Saudi officials unwilling to work with the Americans. The team finally convinces the Saudi’s to work with them and the viewers are opened up to the middle eastern culture as well as finding out the culprits of the attack.

Director Peter Berg, (Friday Night Lights) shows the humanity (both good and bad) from both sides. I expected to see stereotypical Middle Easterns but luckily he treats the characters with respect.

While the characters drive the story, the action scenes are worth noting. Since it’s produced by Michael Mann (Heat), the combat scenes are shot in a realistic fashion. Even though the conclusion is a bit far fetched, it is still kept me on the edge of my seat.

Grade: B+


The HD-DVD is encoded in VC-1 and overall, it’s a great transfer. The video has a glossy look and I was impressed. Details on the guns are apparent, as well as some wide exterior shots of the freeways. This what what HD is all about! Some parts have grain but that’s how I remembered it at the theatre. Having said that, I wouldn’t call this transfer perfect. -some scenes are a bit soft and overall it doesn’t pop as much as Transformers or 300.

Grade: B+


When the title was first announced, we were promised a True HD track. Well what do you know? Universal lied and we only get Dolby Digital Plus. But as we saw with Transformers release, Dolby Digital Plus can stand against the best True HD track.

But what about this release? I’m sad to say it but the audio track lacks depth. While the dialog is very clear, it’s the action scenes that needed the lossless track. Gun shots lack the tightness of the bass that Transformers had. Explosions was also lacking detail. It sounded compressed and generic. If this was for DVD, I would say this was a great track. But since this is HD, this is very disappointing. This is a movie that should have included a lossless track. I hope with all future releases, Universal will include True HD. If they want to win this way against Blu Ray, they better impress the consumers.

Grade: C+


I haven’t checked out all of the extras yet but the ones I saw:

Anatomy of a car crash was pretty in depth. It was about 15 minutes long and covered the main car crash in the movie. Universal should have at least acknowledged that a fatality was involved in the stunt but they decided to ignore it.

Shootout breakdown gives you the option to exclusively follow one the four main characters in the final battle. Some parts were pretty cheesy and I could understand why they didn’t include some of the scenes. Still cool to watch.


To me, 50% of the home theatre experience comes from the sound. The other half is of course, video. That’s why I was disappointed with this release. It had potential to be demo material but Universal, for some crazy reason, decided not to include it.

Overall Rating : B-

pixel Kingdom   HD DVD Review

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