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Three Kings Reviews

Page 1 of 196

Super Reviewer

December 19, 2012
I thought I had previously rated and reviewed this, but I guess not.

Directed by David O. Russell, this is a movie based on a true story about three American servicemen during the Gulf War who hatch a plan to make off with a stash of Kuwaiti gold stolen by Saddam Hussein. The three initially decide to make off with the fortune, but the closer they get to finding it, the more they realize the truth and consequences about the role of the U.S. in the part of the world, and the realities of American foreign policy. These revelations have profound impacts on the men, forcing them all to make some tough choices and evaluations.

While the set up alone is great, what makes the movie really shine is how ambitious it is in terms of genre classification. It's humorous (at times), quite serious and dramatic at others, and in general a really scathing socio/political satire. Oh eyah, it's also a war film, too. It's a mix that doesn't always work, but manages to in this case, thanks in no small part to the skill of the director.

It's not all on him, though. The script is quite great, and very intelligent, the casting is top notch, with the three leads of George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, and Ice Cube all delivering very fine work, providing nicely rounded and developed characters. Yes, even Ice Cube (for those who doubt he actually does having acting skills).

The action scenes are well done, and don't upstage the meat of the picture, the camerawork and editing are pretty good, and the fact that the film finds a nice balance between entertaining and enlightening is remarkable.

Definitely give this one a shot, it's terrific.

Super Reviewer

July 14, 2007
Based on true story, this is an action movie about three soldiers who seek treasure for themselves at the end of the Gulf war. They are torn between their own gain and saving refugees. Lots of action and a good soundtrack.

Super Reviewer

November 5, 2007
I wasnt overly fond of this movie, although critically acclaimed it failed to impress me.
Maybe because ive seen so many war movies that they arent as interesting as they first were and now im bored of watching the same recycled storyline!
paul o.
paul o.

Super Reviewer

February 4, 2012
Ehhhh, its alright. The acting isn't amazing and the story has no real depth but still, its entertaining.

Super Reviewer

November 7, 2006
When a group of US soldiers find a map to Saddam's horde of stolen Kuwaiti gold during operation Desert Storm, they decide to go rogue and steal it. Kind of like a cross between Ocean's Eleven and Jarhead, Three Kings is the Iraq "war"'s answer to Kelly's Heroes. Featuring a fine cast and nicely offbeat script, the film starts off really well with plenty of laughs and surreal situations based within the usual "absurdity of war" framework, but when the script decides to throw in some politics it starts to flounder somewhat. There are some valid points made and it's all very well meaning, but Russell's fear of putting the boot in compromises the message and it all ends up a little half-arsed. The worst example is the fact that the point that America was bombing Iraqi civilians pretty much purely for the purposes of its own fat cat oil companies (a perfectly valid one) was made by the guy who was torturing our hero torpedoes any moral impact it may have had. Add the fact that their redemption at the end feels very contrived and unconvincing and you walk away from the film feeling a little cheated. Having said all that, it's a fun military heist movie with plenty of laughs and action and as a whole is pretty damn entertaining. It's just a shame that what should have been the meat of the story was shuffled off onto the back burner.
Emile T

Super Reviewer

February 26, 2008
A widely imaginative direction from David O. Russell supports a witty screenplay that manages to put comedy, drama and action all in the same piece. It all fits and succeeds at being entertaining as hell while it also makes you morally think about all of this.

Super Reviewer

July 31, 2011
David O. Russell's "Three Kings" is a masterpiece. I mean this honestly. It's a triumph of vision, cohesion and observation. The performances are human yet scathing caricatures. The film has a lovely juxtaposition between fact and fiction that extends to history, emotion, violence, and crime. The film is imaginative and thrilling yet is always grounded in truth. Really, it's all just extraordinary.
Dean !

Super Reviewer

December 31, 2006
A decent action film set at the end of the Iraq war. Three soldiers learn the location of some stolen Kuwaiti gold and plan to help themselves. On their mission they encounter the harsh reality of the current state of the country.
It has a fine cast and is well made, without feeling like a hollywood blockbuster. It has the right mix of action and drama, even a bit of humour too.
Conner R

Super Reviewer

December 16, 2010
Three Kings manages to be one of the most original war movies ever made and still manages to be ahead of its time in terms of what it wants so say. This isn't just an anti-war message or a joke about the military itself; it truly asks important questions about what people value and what they will do simply because it is right. The common theme here is greed. Not just when it comes to the gold bullions, but just in terms of valuing certain people's lives over others. David O Russell just knows how to put on the right amount of teasing and comedy to make this digestible so it doesn't come off as sappy. More or less, this is extremely believable in terms of the story and characters; even though half of them are complete morons.
Mark Wahlberg gives one of his finest performances here as Troy Barlow; one of the most earnest soldiers who basically has no idea what is going on. He's just so naïve in terms of the political agenda, but at the same time has a better understanding of human life than anyone else. This is the kind of role that Mark Wahlberg works best in because his emotions are so believable and he just comes off as a living, breathing person; not a character. George Clooney as Gates is basically the opposite of Troy and is so numb and cynical about the world that it seems like he just doesn't care, but his true self becomes obvious when he sees the terrible situation that the Iraqis are in. George Clooney is great when he's able to be himself; unbelievably charming and salt and peppery. Ice Cube and Spike Jonze do a nice job here too and present some of the best comedic relief in the movie, but also bring some of the most dramatic moments too.
Visually, Three Kings is just unbelievable. It changes its style so many times depending on the emotion it wants to show off, but in no way does it ruin the experience for the viewer. In fact, it enhances the way we watch the movie and see everything. Some of the hand held sots look spooky and almost too close to a documentary, rather than fiction. The blending of this with sporadically intense scenes and moments in which we connect with these characters the most is so powerful and sets this apart from your straight-forward war movie.
Sajin P

Super Reviewer

May 21, 2011
Wonderful casting, good plot and neatly crafted.
It starts as a satire on Gulf war, picks up its pace to shift into an action-adventure gear and finishes off the ride almost as an emotional drama with a human touch.

Super Reviewer

April 15, 2011
Three Kings is a very interesting type of war film. The film is a combination of Comedy, Heist and of course war film. In a way it's satirical war film. I enjoyed this film very much, I thought the casting choice was great and it pretty interesting to see rapper Ice Cube in this. Guess what? he doesn't suck in this. He's fairly good and definitely knows how to act (in this film at least). Three Kings has terrific, well developed characters who are all amusing to watch. The thing that really stood out for the film was of course the Comedy elements mixed in with the drama. The film never takes sides or is pro war or against war, and with that in mind it's terrific, and refreshing. I think this is underrated. Of course it won't appeal to everyone, and I do understand that some people may not enjoy it. But for war film buffs, this is a film to check out. The casting choice is well done, the story is engaging and the characters are terrific. Not to mention theres lots of action. David O. Russell is a fine director and he crafts a solid film that examines the effects of war with the backdrop of a heist story which is designed to keep the audience engaged. However both aspects keep you engaged because Three Kings is a smartly crafted film that is totally different from any other war film. Sure the plot of the film revolves around a heist to steal Saddam Hussein's gold. But it's a different style of war film and it works. A fine film that examines the cost of war but with hints of comedy and drama makes this a memorable war film or should I say, Satirical war film. A well done film that is well worth seeing.

Super Reviewer

January 1, 2011
A surprisingly very good film. I was hesitant at first because George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, and Ice Cube seemed like an odd trio, but they worked very well together. All of them gave good performances, especially Mark Wahlberg. Another thing that seemed weird at first was the tone. At first is was seemed to be very mocking, satirical, and humorous, but I knew that the story was meant to be serious. So it was a weird first scenes for me, but after about thirty minutes, the serious moments of the film come out and make the previous humor very appealing. I thought it was a very good balance.

This is a great film. I was interested the whole time. The story is very real and touching, but also one that is still relevant today. It is filled with so much conflict....many people would benefit from viewing this film. Yes, it is only a movie, but I think it's an honest portrayal of some of the complexity of the Persian Gulf War. I recommend this film to everyone.
Jens S

Super Reviewer

June 14, 2006
It's amazing how this film about the first gulf war starts out as rather vile war satire, turns into a heist adventure film and ends up as touching war drama after all, and is still convincing in each of these aspects. The acting is top notch, the direction and camera work full of little gimmicks, camera tricks and quirky ideas. Between the lines there is a lot of smart commentary on the situation during the first war on Iraq. Thankfully the film never gets preachy, shallow or cynic. In the end it's even deeply humane, yet fun all the way through.
Jason R

Super Reviewer

October 19, 2010
You'll be surprised how quickly you'll fall in love with a movie that somehow walks the line between caustic political satire and slapstick humor. If you're looking for a good movie about George Bush and an Iraq War, skip this year's Green Zone and maybe watch this twice.

By the way, how many great movies has Mark Wahlberg been in? He can't be stopped.
Anthony L

Super Reviewer

September 22, 2009
Take it or leave it, for all its good sentiments there is always a contradiction around the corner.
Dan S

Super Reviewer

October 19, 2007
Post-Gulf War era story concerning four renegade U.S. soldiers (George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Ice Cube, and Spike Jonze) who discover a map leading to some of Saddam Hussein's buried treasure. Along the way, they run into a group of innocent civilians who are considered to be targeted by Saddam himself, forcing the soldiers to make a decision between material riches or human lives. Outstanding, original post-war film features solid acting, intense violence, and a riveting story-line. The ending, while it might be a little to Hollywood in hindsight, packs an emotional wallop.
Daniel P

Super Reviewer

May 14, 2007
A great action movie, just dramatic enough, with comedic parts that are actually funny and honest socially conscious moments: a rarity in the genre. The cinematography is inventive and intense, and the acting is alright - this is what Kelly's Heroes should have been. The subplots are stealthily set up, and before you know it, you have a reason to watch all the characters, and you care what happens to them too as the plotlines all get more and more exciting. Despite a plot full of anti-heroes, Three Kings is far from anti-climactic, and is one of the least conventional and most entertaining action movies I've seen in a long time.

Super Reviewer

May 30, 2008
This is quite simply the best anti-war movie since Catch 22. Wild, whacko, irreverent, chaotic, you are never sure what will happen next or where your loyalties lie. The innate utter stupidity of war is beautifully exposed, as are the often all too ordinary motivations of those who participate in it - lust for adventure, fame, promotion, wealth, but also sudden compassion, honesty and reflection. A roller coaster ride of action and thrills with sudden counterpoints of instant horror that make you think and ashamed of yourself for laughing out loud just a moment before. If this doesn't shake some holy beliefs in the truth of what we are told, and the justification for what we are doing, nothing will. 4.5
Bobby H

Super Reviewer

April 7, 2008
Wahlberg, Ice Cube, and Clooney all have great parts. The movie itself is classically funny at parts, but shows the horrors of war as well. In my opinion, this is the best movie I have seen about Operation Desert Storm. It's worth watching and owning!
Aaron N

Super Reviewer

May 30, 2006
Troy Barlow: Are we shooting?
Soldier: What?
Troy Barlow: Are we shooting people or what?
Soldier: Are we shooting?
Troy Barlow: That's what I'm asking you!
Soldier: What's the answer?
Troy Barlow: I don't know the answer! That's what I'm trying to find out!

The confusion about what was actually happening during the end of the Gulf War provides much of the comedy in this hybrid war-comedy-adventure film.

Conrad: Man... I didn't join the army to pull paper our of people's asses.

This sets up the movie for it's adventure that I can watch over and over. This movie takes place after the war in Kuwait has just ended. It becomes a treasure hunt story after a soldier finds a map in an Iraq soldier's ass.

George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Ice Cube, and Spike Jonze star as U.S. Soldiers, all disappointed in the lack of doing anything by the time the war is over, who jump at the chance to find the gold, which the map they found leads to.

Archie Gates: No unnecessary shots, Conrad, 'cause we know what they do.
Conrad Vig: Make infected pockets full of bile, sir.
Archie Gates: That's right, Conrad, that's what they do.

It's also a very funny comedy and a story about people stuck in a situation, and given the chance to try and get themselves out. The story becomes more complicated when one soldier is captured and a number of rebels need help to escape the country.

Troy Barlow: Let's just stick to the plan. The plan is for the gold, right?
Chief Elgin: Hold on, we can help these people first, and then we can be on our way.

Written and directed by David O. Russel, he gives the film a very surreal visual style with a number of action scenes that are both unique and well done. There are also some realistic and graphic portrayals of gun wounds and torture adding to the intensity of some scenes. The soundtrack that mixes a middle eastern flavor with some loungy procussion work and 90s hip hop, also serves as a well suited way to fit the movie.

Archie Gates: Load the people into the Humvee!
Troy Barlow: There's no room!
Archie Gates: Make room!
Troy Barlow: Whatever happened to necessity?
Archie Gates: It just changed!

This is a very rewatchable movie due to its shifty tone between comedy and action mixed with its portrayal of themes concerning war and consumerism.

It also makes good use of its actors. George Clooney has his usual charm, which is aided by mix of subtle cool and dry with in serious situations. Mark Wahlberg is also very good, especially after being trapped in an unfortunate situation. Ice Cube is also good enough to be alongside everything here. Spike Jonze, better known as the quirky indie director of films like Being John Malkovich, lends some comic relief as well and becomes an important part of the story with his relationship to the others.

The other supporting actors are very good as well including Cliff Curtis as one of the rebels the soldiers want to help out and Sad Taghmaoui as an Iraqi soldier with his own problems from the past.

A great, multi-genre flavored movie that works well in just about every way.

Debbie Barlow, Troy's Wife: Hello?
Troy Barlow: Honey, it's me.
Debbie Barlow, Troy's Wife: Troy? Oh my god! Oh, baby, I was hoping it was you.
Troy Barlow: It's me honey.
Debbie Barlow, Troy's Wife: Oh god, the baby's crying.
Troy Barlow: How's she doing?
Debbie Barlow, Troy's Wife: She hasn't been sleeping too good, and my mom had to go back to work, so I'm real tired baby.
Troy Barlow: Oh, I wish I was there to help, gooney bird.
Debbie Barlow, Troy's Wife: Oh, gooney bird, when are you coming home?
Troy Barlow: Well I'm working on that right now baby.
Debbie Barlow, Troy's Wife: I saw an ad for a computer job, you want me to call and set up an interview?
Troy Barlow: Listen, honey...
Debbie Barlow, Troy's Wife: What date are you coming home?
Troy Barlow: Well, I told you, they haven't given us an exact date yet...
Debbie Barlow, Troy's Wife: Well, maybe if I had an exact date I could call and set...
Troy Barlow: Debbie, listen to me! Please!
Debbie Barlow, Troy's Wife: What's happening?
[an explosive suddenly goes off behind Troy, blasting the wall to pieces]
Debbie Barlow, Troy's Wife: What was that?
Troy Barlow: The wall just exploded.
Debbie Barlow, Troy's Wife: I thought the war was over honey.
Troy Barlow: Well it is and it isn't baby... could you do me a favor and call the reserve center?
Debbie Barlow, Troy's Wife: What do you want me to do?
Troy Barlow: Tell them, I'm stuck in a bunker near 223 North, outside Karbala, okay?
Page 1 of 196
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