We'll give this movie props for an all-too-rare occurrence: the bad guys are the Islamofascists; the good guys are (mostly) American. The movie deals harshly with weak-kneed Willies in America, represented by the State Department and the attorney general. Some of the more liberal film critics have relearned how to spell "jingoistic" as a result.
It starts out in Saudi Arabia with a scene of carnage. Then things get worse. And then they get even worse. When it's finally over, a whole bunch of people are dead, and its time for the FBI to send over a crack team of investigators. This only happens via some deft political manipulation by one of the investigators: Ronald Fleury, played by Jamie Foxx, a buddy of one of the victims.
Chris Cooper plays one of the very good FBI investigators, somewhat ironic since this role followed him playing a very, very bad FBI guy in Breach. He atones here. The other two people on the team are played by Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner, and they're fine.
Richard Jenkins has a small role as the FBI Director. Pay attention, he does his usual outstanding job. Is he the most underrated actor in Hollywood today? Maybe.
One of the final scenes deserves a little discussion. Without spoiling things, here's what the USA Today reviewer had to say about it:
But the finale feeds on a sense of bloodlust and then tries to pull back to show us the error of maniacal revenge. Trying to have it both ways rarely works.What?! I took away a totally different point from the scene to which the reviewer refers. Everything in the movie argues against the kind of moral equivalence the reviewer assumes must be there somewhere. If the scene says anything, it says that we're in a long-term struggle to the death with these guys, not to be remedied by a successful one-time response to a single horrible incident. Go see it for yourself, and make up your own mind, though.