UAE film 'The Ambush' criticised over Yemen depiction

New UAE film 'The Ambush’ slammed over depiction of Yemen conflict
2 min read
11 November, 2021
The new film, directed by Pierre Morel, who also directed the hit Hollywood franchise Taken, will tell the story of a group of UAE soldiers ambushed by insurgents in the desert.
The film has gotten flack over its representation of the events [Getty]

A new trailer for a controversial Emirati action movie called Al-Kameen (The Ambush) was released on Tuesday, drawing criticism from social media users.

The film, directed by 'Taken' director Pierre Morel, is based on a true story about an Emirati military vehicle ambushed while travelling through a canyon, and the mission by a group of soldiers to rescue their colleagues.

According to producers, the film is the largest Arabic-language film ever made in the Gulf, and it boasts heavy hitters in the action film genre.

It is written by Brandon Birtell, who wrote 'Furious 7', and Kurtis Birtell, who wrote 'Medal of Honour'.

The film is yet to be released, however it has already attracted controversy, with some people online critical of the way the Yemen conflict and the Gulf country's involvement has been portrayed. 

"The audacity, to take part in murdering civilians and bringing #Yemen to humanitarian crisis, then make a movie glorifying the horror you cause...that's #UAE..Book mark for next time you want to vacation in #Dubai," human rights defender Maryam Alkhawaja writes on Twitter.

"Brings to mind all the American war films set in Iraqi back in the 2000s," another Twitter user writes.

The lead cast include Emirati actors Marwan Abdullah Saleh, Khalifa Albhri, Mohammed Ahmed and Khalifa Al Jassem.

“Al Kameen tells the incredible story of a small group of soldiers demonstrating courage, heroism and brotherhood in unimaginable circumstances. Working with a fantastic cast and crew in the stunning natural landscapes of the UAE, we have created a truly compelling story that is true, both visually and culturally, to its real-life inspiration," Morel said.

Al-Kameen is scheduled for released on 25 November in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries.

The UAE and Saudi Arabia's involvement in Yemen's war has drawn condemnation from rights groups, who accuse the two states, as well as the Sanaa-based Houthi rebels, of war crimes.

Since 2015, the UAE has backed the Southern Transitional Council,  an umbrella group of heavily armed and well- financed separatist militias.

The conflict has deteriorated largely into a stalemate and spawned the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Tens of thousands of Yemenis live in famine-like conditions and more than 20 million of the country’s some 30 million people need some form of humanitarian aid, according to the UN.