Kingdom follows Xin, a slave who aspires to be the world’s greatest general alongside his friend Piao. Piao is drafted by the kingdom to serve the king, only to be murdered. Xin goes on an adventure to avenge Piao’s death alongside some unlikely allies.
Kingdom is one of the best action films of this year, with every fight scene being well choreographed and shot. Every battle involves weapons such as swords, hammers and arrows, alongside powerful melee moves. The battle scenes are always exciting to watch and likely to leave any viewer sweating due to how intense they are. One scene sees Xin fight a retired general. Their movements are heavy and their dialogue is intense, with Xin having to force every ounce of strength in his beaten body to try and overcome his opponent. What follows is a fight full of shots worthy of being framed and hung up on a wall.
The dramatic side of Kingdom works well enough. Xin’s quest to avenge his friend and start his road towards being a great general brings some emotion to the table. Xin is rash, rude and uncultured, but his heart and personality keeps people on his side. Xin’s drive to help his allies in their missions brings some emotion, as their side stories bring up some compelling ideologies about classism and the unification of nations. The main antagonist does a fantastic job of being hated due to his conflicting ideals with one of Xin’s allies, truly making the film feel like more than just a mindless action for its rather lengthy runtime. However, these scenes focused on thoughts and emotions are not too deep. They are welcome and do add to the film, but usually take ride back seat to the action.
Kingdom is based off a manga of the same name. If you have not read it, you are not alone. When watching the film, there is a worry about not being able to understand where the story is going if you have not read the manga. Luckily this will not be an issue. Kingdom is competent enough to stand alone as a film and tells a story worthy of praise.