Three Kings (1999) / Comedy-War
MPAA Rated: R for graphic war violence, language and some sexuality
Running Time: 114 min.
Cast: George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Ice Cube, Nora Dunn, Jamie Kennedy, Cliff Curtis, Judy Greer
Small role: Jim Gaffigan, Doug Jones, Brian Bosworth, David O. Russell
Director: David O. Russell
Screenplay: David O. Russell
Review published December 26, 2000
A quartet of American soldiers in the waning days of the Gulf War find a map that leads to a massive stash of Kuwaiti gold held by Saddam Hussein's forces. Getting the gold proves a cake walk, but Iraqi citizens who counted on the Americans to help in their fight for freedom are left hanging in the wind when the U.S. Forces decide to clear out. This troubles the souls of the quartet who put their fortunes on the line to help the locals.
Three Kings is a highly ambitious comedy-war film, liberally borrowing its storyline from Kelly's Heroes and its tone from The Wild Bunch. Heavy doses of stylish cinematics and a good deal of unpredictable antics make the film fun, and while the film does tend to make missteps, the compelling and often uneasily funny moments are enough to make one overlook the shortcomings in story, in particularly Nora Dunn (Bulworth, I Love Trouble) and her news crew serving to annoy on their every appearance. Good performances by the leads, unique filmmaking from Russell (Flirting with Disaster, Spanking the Monkey) , and lots of boldness hold all this chaos together for a satisfying action flick. Audacious, over the top, and an odyssey worth taking.
©2000 Vince Leo