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Came for a dark war comedy and ended up getting an anti war blend of comedy, drama, action and thriller. Not dissappointed
Three Kings uses sloppy colors and crass humor to an advantage. It's funny and action packed!
Its not great but it is very good. You'll get your moneys worth out of this one.
What could have been a deliciously nasty satire becomes a tonally inconsistent George Clooney vehicle that makes gestures at commenting on the Gulf War but never delves deep enough. I loved Spanking the Monkey (1994) and I thought that Flirting with Disaster (1996) was a nice little comedy so I thought it would be interesting to see how David O. Russell approached a war film. I was disappointed as I enjoyed myself within the first thirty minutes but I checked out completely after Clooney decides to bring Iraqi immigrants along with his group to cross the Iranian border. It has the Dangerous Liaisons (1988) problem where it asks you to delight in how horrible the main characters are but then asks you to care about them and their struggles despite being provided with no reason to. This is a really misguided film and I wish Russell hadn't made it because it doesn't cause me to be optimistic for The Fighter (2010) which also stars Mark Wahlberg.
A map that leads to a group of bunkers in Karbala filled with gold is discovered in the bottom of an Iraqi soldier by American soldiers Troy Barlow, Mark Wahlberg, Conrad Vig, Spike Jonze, and Elgin, Ice Cube. Their superior Archie Gates, George Clooney, plots to find the gold using the excuse of the American military wanting it as the distraction of civil uprisings against Sadam Hussein will allow them to slip in and out easily. Their plans quickly go awry with Gates developing a conscience and deciding to bring some innocent Iraqi people along with them while journalist Adriana Cruz, Nora Dunn, trails them.
I don't like Clooney and Wahlberg as movie stars which they shouldn't been hurt by as actors because they have given good performances in Up in the Air (2009) and The Departed (2006) respectively. In this movie they play themselves though and that means that I have free rein to truly dislike their characters. Again, disliking them would not be the problem if this were a mean, uncaring film but no, I'm meant to feel sad as Mark Wahlberg has oiled forced down his throat. Ice Cube is equally annoying in his role as the third banana and although there is a certain novelty to seeing director Spike Jonze, in the same year as Being John Malkovich (1999) no less, but he is underused and his character is there to sell one running gag. Nora Dunn is the only one who gets out alive giving a good performance as she is able to play the tough as nails reporter who is desperate for respect, and Emmy awards, as a comedic figure.
The direction seems very muddled as we get some interesting moments such as when we see a close up of a bullet wound inside the body and the beating of a heart but this is drowned out by loving close ups of Clooney's face. If it weren't already so obviously a vanity project for Clooney then Russell's direction makes it clear because he never gives us any reason to doubt the main character's motives. We get a lot of wide shots and quick pans while slow motion occurs on screen but when what occurs isn't all that fascinating it's hard to be impressed by his showy touches. I expected the conversations to draw me in and for Russell to keep a nice tempo going but instead he abandons all of the skills he used in Spanking the Monkey and uses methods that are unnecessarily over the top to convey simple ideas within a scene.
War satires that do work are Starship Troopers (1997) and Wag the Dog (1997) both of which have more fun with their horrid heroes than this film could ever hope to. Where Starship Troopers drops in references to imbalances in armed warfare subtly but with humor this film features obvious shots of Iraqi people being shot. The tonal inconsistencies are not worth tolerating for the equally poor contents of the film and when considering how many other good satires are out there this is not one you have to see. Having not seen Accidental Love (2015) yet I would say this is the worst film David O. Russell has directed.
The best, GREATEST movie ever made!
Three Kings: 7 out of 10: Itâ(TM)s the end of the Iraq War (No not that one. The other one that went much better. ) and George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, and Ice Cube get wind of an of Kuwaiti gold bullion hidden in an Iraqi village just over the border. Can our troops sneak over and acquire the gold and change their home lives forever?
The Good: There is a lot of good in Three Kings. The three main leads (George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, and Ice Cube) are all excellent. The action scenes are well filmed and it is a handsome production.
Three Kings also captures a good sense of the end of the Gulf War with a somewhat surprised American Army more concerned with what to do with all the Iraqi Soldiers surrendering and also wondering what happened to the big war there were supposed to be in that they have just now won with relative ease.
The Bad: Then the plot kicks inâ¦ no not the original plot as described above but a brand new plot that tangentially ties into the narrative but makes zero sense considering the motivation of the characters involved. It would be like a James Bond movie where James quits MI6 to go after drug dealers.
What? Hold on a second I am getting a message here. License to Kill? James Bond does what? Bond is suspended from MI6 as he pursues drug lord Franz Sanchez? Why? To avenge the rape and murder of Patricia Barnes from Threeâ(TM)s Company? I mean as motivations go it isnâ(TM)t an awful one and honestly its a touch better than what Clooney and company have to work with. But yes it is a bit out of character like that.
There is also some jarring low-end humor in Three Kings. For all the intelligent nods and characterizations you get some unnecessary toilet humor and a southern stereotype so broad it would have been offensive in Birth of a Nation. The "humor", like the second act's heartwarming heel-face turn, simply seems out of place with the rest of the film that is otherwise so well made and tonally consistent.
The Ugly: While it is not quite Rambo 3 with Rambo helping the Mujaheddin, you do have to admit that some of this film plays differently now then it did in the late nineties. Clooneyâ(TM)s and the films attack on George Bush (the first one) for not invading Iraq proper and taking out Saddam rings a touch different in hindsight. In fact, the entire plot seems awfully naive.
In Conclusion: There is an old film from my youth that escapes me. In it, one of the guys drowns trying to take to much gold from Davey Jones locker or whatever. Gold is both heavy and expensive. A gold bar weighs about 27 pounds and is worth about half a million dollars. You probably smuggle four or five with relative ease and still be quite wealthy. Do you know what you couldnâ(TM)t do? Easily smuggle five hundred of them. It is a fun movie and often a good story but not one of these idiots has a lick of sense. That is probably why they were so gung-ho to invade Iraq.
By somehow blending action, satirical comedy and drama, and applying it to a story about the Gulf War, David O. Russell has crafted something quite amazing and unique to watch here. The tone is all over the place - one minute you're laughing, the next your sobered up by a brutal scene -- and whilst that's often a bad thing for other films, it works so wonderfully in 'Three Kings' favour, exposing the lies and absurdity of war in something that is entertaining and fun, but also brutal to watch. Bonus points for the lots of cool and creative camera/filming techniques.
Three Kings is not my usual sort of thing, I watched it on the suggestion of a complete stranger, and I don't know that I'll ever watch it again. But I do think that it's a good movie, so I'm going to pass that buck and say, that those of you who like me had never seen this nearly twenty year old movie, give it a chance.
The romantic manner in which the Gulf War was presented to the American public finds itself confronted by Three Kings. An honest and genuine presentation of a wartime heist gone right - sort of right? - right-ish? - you are confronted by the human reality of war, yet in a highly unique manner. Cinephiles will appreciate this film for basically introducing Cliff Curtis (Blow, Training Day, Whale Rider) to a broad audience. Saïd Taghmaoui's presence is also very well done and appreciable.
Pretty good war movie starring marky Mark.