Three Kings 1999 Movie Scene George Clooney as Archie, Mark Wahlberg as Troy and Ice Cube as Chief in an underground bunker looking at the gold

Three Kings [1999]

Sometimes a movie is so creative, original, and well-crafted that it’s hard to describe. Is this a comedy, action movie, parody, satire, drama, or all of the above? What’s important is that you don’t need to define something to enjoy it. So, Three Kings is basically an action comedy set against the post-Iraqi-war clusterfuck. We will be following three soldiers on a mission to “retrieve” some items. However, it would appear that fate has other plans for them.

Starring George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, and Ice Cube, Three Kings is a big summer blockbuster. With a budget of $50 million, it looks and feels great. The sets look authentic and the action scenes believable. The intriguing plot and intelligent dialogue are the elements that set this movie apart from the others. And they also give it a huge replay value. Three Kings explores war, politics, race, and the role of media but in a very casual way. It’s trying to sneak some truths and does that from the start.

One of the first lines in the movie is Mark Wahlberg’s one: Are we shooting at people or what? It perfectly illustrates the bizarre humor and scenes that feel almost surreal. They just feel that way because I’m sure all of this happened in some shape or form. At its heart, Three Kings is a movie about ordinary men in extraordinary circumstances. This is why it resonated so well with the general public.

It shows just how crazy and messy modern warfare is without coming off as preachy or dull. And it’s not even taking place during the war but immediately after it! It kind of reminds me of Jarhead, although that’s a much gloomier movie. Although the events you’re going to see in this movie are also quite fucked up considering just how nasty Saddam was.

After the end of the Gulf War, the deployed American soldiers have nothing better to do than party and tie up a couple of loose ends. One of them accidentally stumbles upon a guy who has something hidden in his asshole. Upon recovering it, he figures out it’s a map and decides to team up with a couple of his buddies and try to locate the treasure indicated on the map. And this is going to get them in a lot of trouble.

Exactly three years after the release of Three Kings, the US would invade Iraq on the false premise of weapons of mass destruction. Since this is such a fun and entertaining movie, I’ll forgo the whole antiwar, empire, and colonial rhetoric and point you to such movies as Vice and Shock and Awe. Moving on, I would like to point out that this is one of the rare movies showing people living in the Middle East in a normal way. They’re not caricatures or have some secret agenda but just regular people just like the American soldiers. 

With the small difference of them being native to the country, they’re in. Some of the scenes in the movie are quite graphic depicting the horrors people went through under Saddam’s rule. At the same time, the movie is truthfully showing just the harsh reality of life in Iraq and the insanity of American intervention. Finally, if you’re looking for similar movies, I recommend you check out The Men Who Stare At Goats and War Dogs

Director: David O. Russell

Writers: John Ridley, David O. Russell

Cast: George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Ice Cube, Spike Jonze, Cliff Curtis, Nora Dunn, Jamie Kennedy

Fun Facts: George Clooney was not director’s David O. Russell first choice for the role of Archie. He first tried to get: Clint Eastwood, Mel Gibson, Nicolas Cage, Jack Nicholson, and Dustin Hoffman but all of them declined or were too busy. Matt Damon and Matthew McConaughey did the same for the role of Troy Barlow


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