114 Min | Action – Adventure – Comedy | December 1999
IMDB Rating: 7.2
Director: David O. Russell
Starring: George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Ice Cube
Three Kings Review: “Three Kings” is not only a post-Vietnam War movie about a post-Vietnam war but it’s post-movies about the Vietnam War, where we already expect that the GIs are lost in the internal politics of the land they “save” and their biases and perceptions are not only useless but dangerous as well. It reminded me of the Thomas J. Friedman’s insight in “From Beirut to Jerusalem “where he said the GIs in Beirut were like “Betty Crocker in hell.” George Clooney again plays Bogey much as he did in “Out of Sight.” Once again he has to make the crucial decision of personal benefit vs. altruism with the plot building in a complicated but inexorably convincing way for us to see how he got to that crossroads and why he makes his choice.
Ice Cube and Mark Wahlberg were also surprisingly good (including a opening shot of Marky Mark that refers to his previous career). In Three Kings, the cinematography is intrinsic to the story, blinding us with the desert sun and the claustrophobia of bunkers. This is certainly a thinking person’s action movie. My 15 year old son and his friends got around the “R” restriction by having one of the kids use a credit card to buy the tickets from a machine. This is one of those times where I don’t mind him watching the violence because the violence was subservient to important themes and moral conflicts, particularly as all the violence had specific physical consequences.
In Three Kings, there ae some nice moments of humour in there too, the exploding cow and the “you mean the little square cubes you put into soup” gags being pretty good. The ending of Three Kings, is good aswell, for once not a brainless shoot out where the hero inevitably comes face to face with villian – hero almost dies – at last kills villian etc, no, thankfully we get something different here. In short Three Kings is a very good film and a break from the typical Hollywood norm of invincible heros with faultless morals well worth a look.