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Three Kings
1999 - R - 114 Mins.
Director: David O. Russell
Producer: Charles Roven, Paul Junger Witt
Written By: David O. Russell and John Ridley
Starring: George Clooney, Ice Cube, Mark Wahlberg, Spike Jonze, Cliff Curtis
Review by: John Ulmer
"Three Kings" is a grand movie. It's got superbly choreographed action sequences, a hilarious dark side, and one of a human side, as well. Its characters stand on their own and make up their minds about what they want to do, and a lot of the time it's not the best decision. They are on a quest by themselves and they must carry it out. But their human nature may stand in the way.

"Three Kings" is set in the aftermath of the first Gulf War. It involves about four men from the U.S. army finding out where gold is hidden in Iraq, and their mission as they go out to find it for themselves. But before they can take the loot, their human nature gets in the way as they see innocent civilians in a small town being killed by Saddam's armies. So they decide to help the people of the small town, and in the process must choose to take the money and run, or help out, go AWOL, and cross the border with the people to take them to freedom.

"Three Kings" is a wickedly funny satire on the Gulf War. Only I wouldn't exactly call it a satire. It is more of a dark film with a dark blend of on-the-side humor. And the humor must be acquired; not all people will find this movie funny. If you do not think a cow being chased around by three military officers in a Humvee and being blown up by a landmine in a bloody mess is funny, this movie is probably not the best choice for you. But it is filmed darkly and is the definition of gritty; yet, unlike the film "Fight Club," it still manages to have a wickedly funny dark side of comedy that I found is one of the best elements of the entire film. I particularly enjoy one scene in which George Clooney threatens three men, by saying "would you like to return to your day job?" All three start thinking about their day jobs back home. One man remembers his job at an airport. Another as a penpusher. Then, one man remembers shooting stuffed animals with a shotgun. He turns to Clooney. "I don't have a day job, sir." You've got to see it to get it.

The length of the film in some areas got in the way of my enjoyment, including a scene in a shrine that turned boring and overused pretty fast. But it pays some importance to a character later in the film, so I guess I can't complain. Other than that, the film doesn't really have anything wrong with it. The actors are great, the script is great, the directing is great. The movie is great.

"Three Kings" should be witnessed by everyone. Especially if you like dark comedies, violent comedies, dramas, romance movies, and "Fight Club." You've gotta like one of those, and if you don't, steer away from "Three Kings." But if you're open to one of the most dark, humorous and gritty war films in recent years, open your ears, shut up and watch the movie. Shh, your popcorn-chewing's getting on my nerves.
Movie Guru Rating
An excellent film.  Among the best in its Genre.  Worth seeing in the Theater. An excellent film.  Among the best in its Genre.  Worth seeing in the Theater. An excellent film.  Among the best in its Genre.  Worth seeing in the Theater. An excellent film.  Among the best in its Genre.  Worth seeing in the Theater.
  4 out of 5 stars

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