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Three Kings (DVD)

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Genre: Drama / Theatrical Release: 1999 / Director: David O. Russell / Actors: George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg ... / DVD released 18 April, 2005 at Warner Home Video / Features of the DVD: PAL, Widescreen

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      02.10.2011 21:25
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      A decent war movie with an interesting outlook

      When I left school in 1999, I went through a phase of watching a number of War films from all sorts of different periods. The likes of Apocalypse Now and the Thin Red Line were providing my regular weekend viewing. One film I saw and really enjoyed was Three Kings and having recently rediscovered it in my DVD collection; I decided to reacquaint myself with it. At the time it was released prior to the more recent Gulf conflict and focussed instead on the American's war with Sadam Husain in the early 90s. At the time I remember being incredibly impressed by the action and the vision of the director, however would this still be the case 10 years later.

      Gulf War Mark 1

      The Gulf war has come to an end and the American soldiers are trying to restore a degree of peace to the area. There are 4 soldiers though who have other ideas and having found a map set out to an Iraqi bunker to try and locate a stash of missing Kuwait gold bullion. There plan is to get in and get out with as much gold as possible. Upon finding the bunker what they find instead is a population in dire need of their help as Sadam's troops try to squash the uprising. They find a number of people desperate for their help and rather than take the gold and run the American's opt to help the Iraqi citizens to fight back against their oppressors.

      Bringing The Gulf To The Cinema

      This was one of the first times Hollywood ventured into a tale about the Gulf conflict and I think that director David O Russell did it with just the right amount of tact and decorum. This film marked a more prominent move into the mainstream for Russell and I think he did it very well. He tackled the sensitivity of the war well and showed a considerable amount of remorse and wonderment in the American troops as to firstly why they were even there and secondly in their attempts to aid the people of the towns and villages.

      He used some excellent cinematography to really bring the story to life, whether it be the effect a bullet has on a person or the grainy, rough appearance of everything on camera, showing this not to be a polished Hollywood release, more a realistic and accurate backdrop to tell the story. In fact Russell even amended John Ridley's original script as he felt there were elements that needed improving and making far more realistic than Ridley's original vision. The result is a gritty film told through the eyes of four American soldiers and whilst this story isn't a true one, it is presented in a rougher and ready way that makes it a great movie telling a very good and engrossing story that holds the viewers attention.

      Launch Pad

      At the time of its original release George Clooney was just about to leave ER and the release of Three Kings seemed to propel him into the leading man role. He is an actor who makes roles look easy, despite the complexity of his character. He takes the lead of the group as the higher ranking officer and despite coming across as a little arrogant at times he makes his character incredibly likeable. He develops his performance throughout the film, letting the viewer see slightly more of the characters personality as the film progresses and it's this ability that I feel highlights Clooney's acting talent.

      Likewise there are equally impressive performances from Mark Wahlberg and Ice Cube who both shine alongside Clooney in the lead roles. At the time Wahlberg's star was rising at the same pace as Clooney's and it is movies like this that show how good an actor he also is. For Ice Cube a mixed career to this point was certainly improved by his performance throughout. The rest of the cast did a great job in supporting the three lead actors. The performances of particular note were Spike Jonze as the fourth American GI and Adriana Cruz as the dogged reporter after the story.

      Great Movie

      For sometime now I have classed this as one of my favourite War films and it seems that having not seen it for a few years that's still the case. The movie still works really well, telling the story, whilst at the same time revealing the suffering the Iraqi people faced from the fall out of the conflict. It give a more human side to the aftermath and shows the extent that innocent people were affected by the war. It is well made by director David O Russell as it doesn't conform to the usual war film stereotypes and with a more realistic storytelling point of view than the majority of Hollywood War movies it's a film I would thoroughly recommend.

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      24.07.2011 12:47
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      We three kings be stealin' the gold...

      Three Kings is a war movie made in 1999 by David O Russell, it's a film he's never come close to matching and for me is one of the funniest and most refreshing films of the last 20 years.


      ==The Plot==

      Hearing of the legend of a huge amount of gold hidden by Saddam Hussein, a small group of US soldiers decide to find it and take it home and make their fortune, after the end of the first gulf war.

      Finding a map (up the bottom of a Prisoner of War), the group believe will lead them to the gold, they set off on an adventure that puts them in a situation none could ever have appreciated and required them to use every skill they have learnt in their army careers to survive.

      Upon realising that some pockets of Iraqi forces are repressing their own people following the ceasefire, the soldiers have to decide whether to continue searching for the gold or help others.

      ==Cast==

      This film is all about the four lead characters in search of hidden gold and adventure, leading the group is George Clooney as Sergeant Major Archie Gates. This was probably the first role where Clooney got to show the charisma and style which worked so well in the television series, ER and which now serves him so well. He plays Gates as a smart man, looking to play the system, however being utterly unaware of just how messed up the system is.

      Clooney's character is charming, driven and likeable but he underlays him with an element of self doubt and even this hardened veteran begins to soften at some of the things he sees on the journey to find the hidden treasure.

      Backing Gates up are, Sgt. Troy Barlow (Mark Wahlberg), Chief Elgin (Ice Cube) and Pvt. Conrad Vig (Spike Jonze), the three soldiers who initially find the treasure map, up the back passage of a prisoner of war.

      Wahlberg is excellent as a hard as nails soldier who really just wants to get home to his pregnant wife, he fills the performance with moments of reflection as he wonders what the hell he and his countrymen are doing in this country when they could be home with their families. He is particularly good in a scene when he is being tortured and finds a stash of mobile phones but encounters customer service problems on trying to call his wife, proving the world is becoming smaller and smaller and we're all part of a global community experiencing the same problems.

      Ice Cube steps away from the silly comedies he is now renowned for and is spot on as Chief Elgin, he is hard and talks brash but can't hide the fact the more he sees the less he likes of his job, or understands why they are there. Jonze plays a loveable hillbilly and is the weakest acting link in the chain but he gets lots of screen time and works well with the three leads, offering something slightly different which is a perfect contrast to his colleagues.

      Able support is provided by Nora Dunn as a scoop hungry news reporter on the trail of Gates and his team, with Said Taghmaoui working well as an Iraqi captain, a long way from his role in La Haine, but nonetheless providing a well rounded performance.

      ==My View==

      This is an interesting film on a number of levels:

      Visually this is quite innovative, for its time it used lots of new ideas, from the visual of somebody being shot, Russell went further showing the bullet entering the body and the effect this has on the victims muscles, this is hugely effective and gives some reality to why being shot can hurt so much. Add to this fast paced chases, pretty graphic killings which never feel cheap but always relevant and some interesting activities such as a cow being blown up and the film is always utterly interesting visually. The film unfolds at a great pace and the director ensures we learn a lot through smart visual imagery.

      It offers a really interesting perspective on the first Gulf war as it paints all parties as equally culpable and confused by why they are fighting and what the outcome is. At times it is interesting as the American soldiers look at Iraqi soldiers killing their own people and wonder what it was they actually fought to liberate.

      The fact the films 'heroes' are actually attempting to loot and steal from a damaged country after the peace pact following the Gulf war shows the moral malaise evident throughout this picture, there are good and bad people but both have their compassionate and dispassionate sides and not one person in the film is anywhere near perfect.

      The film doesn't pull any punches and is shot in a really modern fast action style where you breathlessly follow the action. The script is funny, rewarding and at times harrowing and it doesn't hold back in making points politically, whether you agree or not, this is a brave film and the kind of film which keeps you thinking about it after the credits have rolled.

      I do think the film has aged somewhat simply because events have moved on so much in Iraq and the Middle East but the film doesn't set out to show one side as good and the other as bad, it shows all sides as having a mix of compassionate people and nasty pieces of work, it does this through using humour as a key weapon in its armoury and never flinches from discussing issues which perhaps aren't covered so fully in a number of other war films.

      Three Kings is a very good film and is much smarter than a lot of its rivals in the genre, it offers laughs for those who want them, it is stylishly shot and thoughtful without forcing ideals on you, overall it is an underrated success and a film I enjoy coming back to every so often to rewatch.

      ==Background==

      The film was released in 1999 to critical acclaim, its actors were hailed and Russell was given plaudits for a lively film made with humour and a social conscience. Behind the scenes apparently things weren't quite as rosy, with Clooney admitting to having punched the director in the face at some point during filming.

      There was also controversy with Russell having to accept he didn't write the entire film himself after being sued. The film used real Iraqi's in the roles of their countrymen, many had been abused by the Iraqi government and understood the story and its morals perfectly lending the action a more realistic bent than would generally be the case.

      The film grossed over $60 million worldwide and has been hailed as one of the smartest war films of the 1990's.

      ==Best Quotes==

      They have half a million men in the desert and they send four guys to pick up all this bullion? I don't think so.

      Man... I didn't join the army to pull paper our of people's asses.

      ==Price==

      The DVD is available for £3.97 new or a penny used, it is well worth checking out.

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        09.02.2010 08:11
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        Archie and his men go for Saddam's gold

        FILM ONLY REVIEW

        Archie Gates is serving out in Iraq and Kuwait at the end of the Gulf war. His job is to escort a news reporter but when he gets wind of a map which has been found by a group of reservists he decides to ditch the reporter and find the map. When he comes across the three reservists who have the map he makes a deal with them.

        Archie and the men plan to take a vehicle the following morning and go in search of the bunkers which are marked out on the map believing that the Saddam has the stolen Kuwaiti gold hidden in them. The men believe that they can do their mission in one morning so their absence will not be noticed but one problem which Archie has is the reporter. One of the men is given the task of taking her on a wild goose chase whilst the others go on their mission.

        The men set off and soon they find the bunkers but no gold, they then have to fight the Iraqi army to uncover the other bunkers but as there is still some resistance things do not go to plan.

        Will Archie and the men be able to find the bunker, will they be able to keep their emotions in check with some of the horrors which the civilians are facing. Ultimately will they find the gold and be able to get it back to America where they all have plans on how to spend it?

        I really did not now much about this film before watching and I had no expectations for it, the only thing which really persuaded me to give it a go was the fact that t starred George Clooney and he was going to be wearing a uniform! I can honestly say this film really was excellent and I loved it from start to finish. The storyline was very good even though for most of the film hubby was trying to persuade me that it was a true story, he only told me that it was not at the end! I found it touched upon the disasters and horrors of the first Iraq war very well.

        George Clooney played the lead role of Archie Gates and I have to say he really did look the part. I found his character very easy to warm to and he was very believable in his military role where he was a high ranking soldier who was struggling with the mundane job of looking after the reporter. He worked very well with the military side of his role and the weaponry which he had to use. I did find he came across as a tough man at the start of the film but I loved how he grew and showed a more softer and human side as the film moved on. He worked very well with all his co stars and there was a great chemistry and camaraderie between them all.

        The other main men were played by Mark Wahlberg, Ice Cube, Spike Jonze and Cliff Curtis and they all did fantastic jobs, they were all so different character wise but they seemed to all gel and fit together in the storyline. I found the addition of the Iraqi civilian to be an excellent way to make the story seem more real and genuine. I loved how we got to learn about the characters and their back grounds and how they were normal men who had families and normal every day jobs and how they resented the fact that they only got drafted up at the end of the war so got to see no action. We did have a lot of other actors in the film who had smaller parts and I found they brought some depth to the storyline and all acted very well.

        I did find some of the scenes quite hard to watch, maybe this was due to the fact that I am married to a soldier so they may not affect others in quite the same way as me but when hubby has served in this country and seen sights such as what we did it made it hard for me to watch, he had no problems watch them though! I did not like some of the civilians and the way they were treated by the Iraqi army and it really did pull at my heart strings when I saw the destitute children who just wanted some water and love and were not able to get this.

        The special effects throughout the film were excellent and very realistic, I had to turn away at some parts of the film, this is how real they were. They all fitted well into the film and at no point could I clearly see any badly added backdrops or effects. The film was set in the desert on the Iraqi and Kuwaiti border and all of the sets and scenery looked very authentic and real.

        As this is a film only review there are no bonus features to speak of. The running time of the film is 114 minutes and I found this to be a great length and was hooked from start to finish. The certificate is a 15 and I have to say that this is very appropriate and should not be viewed by anyone younger. This DVD can be found on sites such as Amazon and EBay for just a few pounds.

        I definitely have to recommend this film to all who have not seen it yet as it has a great storyline excellent acting and I was hooked right from the start. I will advise that some scenes may be upsetting for some viewers though.

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          30.06.2009 11:26
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          A subtle action satire

          Three Kings is a film that, upon release, I for one ignored because it looked like a dumb and overly stylised action film. When I saw it appear on one of my Film courses at University, I was pretty bemused, and upon watching the film, realised that I was in fact very mistaken.

          My course was entitled "Cultural Ideology and Film", and the film is indeed very intelligent and very much infused with an anti-war ideology and statement about the face of the Gulf war, yet also remains relevant today with the Iraq war (as the film makes numerous references to the other "benefits" of going to war - i.e. to pilfer and make money).

          Three soldiers, played by George Clooney (the leader), Mark Wahlberg (the family man) and Ice Cube (the tough zen man), discover Gold in the Iraq dessert, and seek to steal it back to US soil. However, when they discover some refugees that need saving, this becomes a little more troublesome, and both where their loyalties lie, and how much they value the lives of Iraqi civlians, will be tested.

          Three Kings has a revolutionary visual style - it is incredibly extravagant, making use of state of the art CGI for the time. Whilst its aesthetic appears to resemble that of something Michael Bay would pump out, this is actually utilised for comedic purposes, such as when a rocket is fired at a truck, and an elephantine explosion is expected, so we see our heroes dive in slow motion, only to see that the truck was filled with milk instead of gasoline.

          Mediating a pungent anti-war commentary with eye-popping action, fine performances and outstanding direction, Three Kings is a war satire both insightful and entertaining.

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          31.05.2009 19:11
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          A film with substance, style and fantastic humour

          Three Kings is a war film set in Iraq during the first Gulf War, directed and written by David.O.Russell it's a satire with style and substance.

          The film follows three US soldiers, Troy Barlow (Mark Wahlberg), Staff Sergeant Elgin (Ice Cube) and Conrad Vig (Spike Jonze). While Barlow and Vig arrest an Iraqi soldier, they find a map in his buttocks while searching him, the map lists some secret Kuwaiti treasure of Gold bullion. Major Archie Gates (George Clooney) hears about the map from a journalist and confronts the three, advising them that they must all search for the loot. Whilst searching for it, the guys find the gold and a number of Iraqi rebels, but they are all confronted by Iraqi soldiers, during the ensuing shootout, Barlow is captured and tortured by the Iraqis, the others decide to keep the gold and rescue Barlow with the rebels and escape to the Iranian border.

          The cast are superb, the four main leads are all convincing, each has their own confusions over why they are in Iraq and each is good and bad in their own way, wanting to help the refugees but save the gold too, do they save Barlow or do they head off to the border. Clooney is outstanding, his timing is brilliant and the script give him and the other actors so much to do, Cube is serious and the voice of morality, Wahlberg is an innocent in a mad place, he is the voice of middle America and his call home just before he is tortured sums up the modern world, his wife talking about humdrum things while he fears for his life.


          My View:

          This for me is the ultimate film about the Gulf War, it steps way beyond the war and looks at corruption, the ethical issues faced by American's, Iraqi's and locals, we see innocent people shot, we see bad people escape, the film ends and leaves question marks over the integrity of our heros but the whole film is done in a biting satire, it is visually stunning with stylish direction and cinematography, the humour is excellent, the performances are fantastic, Clooney is charming and corrupt, Wahlberg is frustrated, innocent and wondering what the hell he's doing, Jonze a famous film director in his own right is a revelation as the scatty Vig and Ice Cube is brilliant in his role bringing dynamism and a sense of right and wrong to the whole piece. The scene with the exploding cow will live with me for the rest of my life, but it is something I can imagine so many of my friends doing in a foreign land.

          I am surprised this film isn't more widely lauded it is one which will age brilliantly and like the satires of the seventies will be remembered as a really great film, fast paced, brilliantly shot, hilarious and fantastically structured this is a memorable film in every sense.

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            21.04.2009 17:13
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            Three Kings

            Three kings is an action comedy film and released in year 1999. Movie is based on the story by john Ridley. Three kings is written and directed by David O. Russell. Movie was produced by Charles Roven, Edward McDonnell and Michael Hertzberg. This is a story of four American soldiers who plans to steal the gold from a secret bunker of Saddam.

            Cast and Crew:
            George Clooney portrays Major Archie Gates.
            Mark Wahlberg plays a role of Troy Barlow, a first class officer working for US.
            Spike Jonze plays a role of Conrad Vig.
            Ice Cube portrays Chief Elgin, a baggage handler in airlines.
            Cliff Curtis portrays Amir Abdullah.
            Said Taghmaoui plays a role of Iraqi caption Said.

            Plot Summary:
            At the end of the Persian Gulf War American army is shooting on the surrendering army of Iraq. Officer Troy and Conrad are disarming the Iraqis. One Iraqi soldier is hiding some documents and they find those documents. This is a map and Troy decides to show this map to his Chief Elgin. Here news reporter Cruz tells Major Archie about this map. Archie meets Troy and Vig and tells them that this is a map of huge cache of gold hidden in Saddam's bunker. This cache of gold is stolen from Kuwait. They all decide to follow the map and to steal the gold. President Bush orders them to raid and secure all the bunkers

            Here in Kuwait some forayed people find the gold. The Iraqi republican troops rescue the some prisoners and encourage them to fight against Saddam's soldiers. Iraqi reinforcements arrive at the village and capture Troy. Some rebels manage to rescue Vig, Elgin and Archie. They decide to help the rebels to reach far across the border of Iran but first they have to find and rescue Troy. Troy is in underground bunker and calls his wife to tell his location to some officer so that they can rescue him. Iraqi caption Said tells him that Americans are involved in this thing. They encourage them to do all this. Now what happens next? Do they able to find the gold? Do they able to rescue Troy? Why Americans are involved in the crisis? What happens to the civilians? To know all the answers watch "Three Kings".

            My Views and Perspective:

            Plot and Storyline:
            The movie shows the post situation of Gulf War and how the eccentric war takes place. Film is mix of action, comedy, war, drama and adventure too. All these elements creates awkward dilemma but this movie is perfectly engaged. The plot is very brilliant and I think I have seen any war movie with comedy. Story is more like treasure hunt. Movie delivers some shocking twists in the story and also criticizes the politicians.

            Direction:
            David O Russell proved himself by giving some comedy hits. One of them is spanking the disaster. But this time the topic is totally different and after watching this movie you can easily determine that he got the real talent. His work is beyond my expectations. He perfectly infixed the film into several genres and his direction is striking and ends up with an enjoyable movie.

            Characters and Performances:
            Performance by Mark Wahlberg is appreciated. He makes his character likable. The torture scene at Iraqis camp is real and he offered his body to torture for this film. So you can imagine how much dedicated he is. The acting of George Clooney is a treat in this film. I am bit surprised why this movie is named Three Kings because there are four main characters in the movie and all four are searching for the gold. I think Spike Jonze is not the king according to the movie.

            Others:
            Movie contains some graphic violence. Cinematography is stunning. They show the bullet traveling through the body and the scene in which soldiers are firing on the tanks is breath taking. Credit goes to Newton Sigel who also filmed The Usual Suspects. The soundtracks and sound design pump up your woofers. A must watch for everyone because movie delivers all kind of genres. That's all I can give you. Thanks for reading.

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              27.02.2006 23:53
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              jam packed action film; a must see

              THIS IS A REVIEW IDENTICAL TO THE ONE DONE BY ME ON CIAO

              Runtime: 115 minutes

              DVD: audio commentary by director David O. Russell, audio commentary by producers Charles Roven and Edward McDonnell, three behind-the-scenes documentaries: “Under the Bunker", "An intimate look inside the acting process with Ice Cube" and "Tour of the Iraqi Village Set", video diary by the director, interview with director of photography Tom Siegel, interactive game "Hidden Bunker"

              Chracters:
              Mark Wahlberg – Sergeant First Class Troy Barlow
              George Clooney – Major Archie Gates
              Ice Cube – Staff Sergeant Chief Elgin
              Spike Jonze – Private First Class Conrad Vig
              Nora Dunn – Adriana Cruz

              Director: David O’ Russell


              In the days immediately after the Gulf War, four U.S. soldiers plan to steal a secret hoard of Kuwaiti gold. However, they find themselves getting involved with civilians being executed by Saddam Hussein and left unprotected by the U.S. military. Do they do a runner with the gold, leaving the residents to perish under the Iraqi army? Or do they jeopardise losing the gold in order to accompany them to protection across the border into Iran? This has great scenes, especially some of the shoot-outs which occur. My personal opinion is that the fundamental ideas of human compassion and kindness for those in a worse situation make this film a true great. I do not want to give too much away with the plot since there are so many great moments which I think you should appreciate properly. Even the trailer possibly gives away too much information and spoils a couple of the surprises.

              The acting is generally of a high standard but there are one or two occasions where actors tended to over-act. This film required little acting ability due to the high action content but where it was required Wahlberg and Ice Cube did the job (neither of whom are great actors). They survived and the group was as plausible as the script.

              The high paced tempo of the action scenes is accompanied with some great filming and camera work; the slow-motion scenes were also great. Regrettably, I feel that he was unsuccessful in portraying the more humorous scenes although there are some classic lines: ‘Archie Gates: “No unnecessary shots, Conrad, 'cause we know what they do.” Conrad Vig: “Make infected pockets full of bile, sir.” Archie Gates: “That's right, Conrad, that's what they do.”’ I find Conrad Vig very funny since he is the token dunce in the whole escapade.

              I thought the soundtrack to the movie was brilliantly chosen, not only did it emphasise the images but also gave it that extra pizzazz which is so hard to find. The sound and picture quality is really good on the DVD and made it something special along with the unusual filming techniques which they used and these only added to the effect. My major gripe with the DVD is the lack of clarity with the pictures in the scene selection as I had a kind of hit and miss technique to continue watching from where I was. I found the commentaries very interesting; it gave me a real insight into the thought processes behind making a film like this. The “Under the bunker” documentary was basically composed of compiled interview with everybody involved with the film (actors and tech. advisors included). These Technical Military advisors gave a great insight into the mentality of the soldiers who were forced to stand by whilst Iraqi’s were being slaughtered. They also describe technical difficulties involving the tough landscape. This is probably the best feature of the action packed DVD. If you do not buy the DVD at least rent it because this one has possibly the best extras I have ever seen.

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                05.09.2002 04:54
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                Having recently purchased my first stand-alone DVD player (I have a useless one on my computer) I have been hitting the DVD stocks of my local store. Unfortunately the stocks are even more limited than the choice of films on video and I have already seen most of them anyway! Still, this is not necessarily a bad thing and I have found a few entertaining films that I might not have otherwise seen. One of these films was Three Kings. Viewing the trailers made me think it was all action and a very weak plot. To be honest, it was not very different from my initial impressions, but I did find it more entertaining than I expected. Cast/Characters %%%%%%%% Mark Wahlberg - Sergeant First Class Troy Barlow George Clooney - Major Archie Gates Ice Cube - Staff Sergeant Chief Elgin Spike Jonze - Private First Class Conrad Vig Nora Dunn - Adriana Cruz The Story %%%%% Immediately after the Gulf war, American troops remain in Iraq in order to keep the peace and oversee the surrender of Iraqi forces. It is during this process of disarmament that Sergeant Troy Barlow, Chief Elgin and Private Conrad Vig make an interesting discovery. Hidden on an Iraqi soldier (I wont say wear it was hidden!) they find a map disclosing the location of some of Saddam Hussains' Hidden Bunkers. This is of great interest to them, not for military purposes but for financial reasons. It is rumoured that Saddam Hussain has stolen valuable items from Kuwait during the conflict and it is these items that are supposedly hidden in the bunkers. The group decides to check the validity of the map by comparing it to aerial photographs. Whilst doing so they are confronted by Major Archie Gates who decides that he would also like a piece of the action for himself. So, with the party complete, they set off to find the stolen items, in particular the stash of gold and embark on an adventure that would see them question their own moral val
                ues. To make matters worse, they are also being chased by ambitious reporter, Adriana Cruz, can it get any worse?. I will say no more on the plot to enable people to see this film for themselves. Actors/Acting %%%%%%% Well there were a few surprises with regards to the acting in this film. George Clooney is one of the few "pretty boy" actors than can actually act. So his fine performance did not surprise me. Mark Wahlberg and Ice Cube on the other hand, were a lot better than I was expecting. This film did not really require a lot of acting talent or ability, but they make the most of the limited dialogue and were very convincing. Helped along with the aid of Spike Jonze as the groups token Goofball, Private Vig. They do make a believable group of soldiers in a plot that was difficult to take seriously. Action/Humour %%%%%%%% There are two main elements that director David Russell tries to combine within this film, action and humour. The action is fast paced, with some unique camera angles, combining staggered film shots and slow motion sequences to good effect. He is spot on in this area and action fanatics will find plenty to enjoy. Unfortunately, I feel he was less successful when dealing with the lighter moments. Perhaps it was his attempts to combine humour with death and violence that let him down. It has been done before, far more successfully. Indeed, perhaps he should study the techniques of Director Quentin Tarantino who showed just how it should be done in Reservoir Dogs (1992) and even more so in Pulp Fiction (1994). That being said, some of the humour does work in the early stages of the film, but as the course of the story unfolds, it does tend to struggle. DVD Extras %%%%%% The menu list four options to start off with and some of these lead to further options. They are as follows: *** Play Movie*** Surprisingly enough, this option sta
                rts t he movie! (Alright, so this is not strictly an extra but it on the menu list, so tough!) ***Scene Selections*** There are 31 scene selections to chose from and these are varied enough to keep you flicking for hours should you chose to do so. They are set out in groups of six, with pictures to help you remember which is which. Unfortunately I did not find the pictures displayed very helpful and you will find that it is very much a case of trial an error when looking for any one particular scene. This does seem to be a common feature on the DVD's that I have watched so far, so nothing special really! ***Special Features*** For me, this is where things started to get interesting! ~Cast & Crew~ Just a listing of the credits! ~Commentary by David Russell~ Now this I found quite engrossing. He describes how he first got interested in making this movie upon viewing the tagline description "Heist set in the aftermath of the war in the Persian Golf" and goes on to describe his influences. He goes on to explain his interest in the contrast between the horrors of this war and the party atmosphere created by the soldiers, most of whom failed to see any action at all. I did find this extra feature very interesting, but perhaps it will only really appeal to particularly keen film fanatics. ~Commentary by Producers Charles Roven and Ed McDonnell~ Some interesting facts mentioned by this duo, how the cast were chosen for instance. Tom Cruise was apparently first choice for the main role played by Clooney, but turned it down to star in Mission impossible 2. Again, this extra is more for the die hard film nuts, their voices do tend to ramble and can get a bit boring. Worth checking out if you want to hear more about the filming from behind the scenes, but tougher listening compared to David Russell's commentary! ~Under the Bunker~ Behind-the-scenes documentary including interviews
                with the cast, director, producers, etc. This is fascinating and definitely worth viewing. Basically it covers everything that the commentaries discuss, with some good on the set film clips. It also contains interviews with the technical advisors who were actually there and fought in the war. These Technical Military advisors can offer great insight into the mentality of the soldiers who were forced to stand by whilst Iraqi civilians were brutalised and murdered. Technical difficulties involving the terrain and problems with the weather for instance, are all explored here. The best extra on the whole DVD from my point of view. Overall View %%%%%% The film is very entertaining and the action engrossing. I did think the humour failed to work throughout the entire film. Although I am not sure if this was due to the fact that it was badly done, or more a case that I felt uncomfortably laughing immediately after someone had been shot in the head for example. If you can put aside the moral issues, perhaps you may find it funnier than I did. The storyline is interesting but not really plausible. It is also not entirely original, the film Kellys hero's tackled a similar scenario first many, many years ago, albeit based on a different war. Rated 18 it is definitely only suitable for adults. Relatively new to the world of DVD extras, I have limited experience in which to make a comparison in that area. More extras than some DVD's, less than others. The behind the scenes documentary and the commentary by the director are definitely worth a look. But I do not feel that it is really worth buying the DVD just for these features, as I feel that they would not stand up to a repeat viewing. Definitely a DVD to hire if not to purchase though! .

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                  11.06.2002 01:27
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                  Having seen several trailers for Three Kings at the cinema, and on other videos, I finally decided to get hold of a copy on video. This film was nothing like I expected. The storyline portrays four US soldiers, who are based in Iraq at the time of the Gulf War. The war has just finished, and many of the men are itching for some real action - having not really taken part in the conflict that has just ceased. They discover a map - I won't tell you where it was concealed - that shows a secret hoard of Kuwaiti bullion stolen by Saddam Hussein. The men decide that they will, under cover of the US Peace Treaty, recover the gold before they return home to the States - a simple, but profitable operation for all parties. The soldiers quickly discover the gold - but uncover a settlement of Iraqi civilians, whose leader is being held captive by Saddam's troops. The US soldiers are quickly drawn into the conflict, when they witness the brutality of Saddam's troops, and find themselves unable to just walk away from the civilians. The film shows their attempts to help the civilians escape from Iraq, all the time unable to call out support from the US Army, as they are effectively AWOL. This is quite a strange film. I found myself uneasy with the events that were transpiring at the start of the film - despite the humourous lines, and apparent peace, a sense of foreboding quickly took over, and I was apprehensive that the film would become unpleasant - which in some ways it was. The film very grittily portrayed the real victims of the Gulf conflict, and was very effective in delivering different sides of the story. Even some of the Iraqi troops were portrayed as innocent, family man caught up in a conflict they neither understood, nor supported. The film stars Mark Walhberg and George Clooney, as the two central characters. Both actors put in creditable performances, although Clooney seemed reluctant to get his hair messed up at s
                  ome points in the film. The film also portrayed news reporters seconded to the conflict, desperately trying to outdo each other with "the best story", and this again reflects the nature of the conflict in the Gulf - the first real "TV War". There are some good action sequences in the film - the director uses slow motion and colour distortion during certain sequences to heighten the tension, and these work very well. The path of a bullet is gruesomely shown damaging internal tissues and organs in one, gooey sequence which seemed out of place with the rest of the film, but a sequence involving mortars, tear gas and land mines is truly frightening. The film has a great soundtrack with some classic tunes used that might seem out of place, but which I thought added to the atmosphere of the movie. This is noty a conventional war movie by any means, but effectively challenges the way in which you may have viewed the Gulf Conflict. Recommended for those who can withstand quite graphic violence. Overall i quite liked the film.

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                    25.02.2002 17:16
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                    It's hard to really adequately describe this movie. Let me try. For starters, in spite of the advertisements, it's not merely a remake of "Kelly's Heroes". Yes, we are in a postwar situation, where a bunch of Americans are trying to "recover" gold stolen by the enemy, but that's the end of the similarities. "Three Kings" does an excellent job of showing just how gonzo modern warfare has become. You've got unemployed reservists going to the Middle East for kicks fighting Saddam, who uses gas attacks, electric shock torture and other atrocities to fight the rebels. Thrown in the mix are a U.S.-educated Iraqi whose businesses were destroyed by the Americans, a bunch of rebels and refugees living in bunkers, a CNN-type correspondent facing the threat of younger reporters, and Mark Wahlberg's character finding a cell phone in the Iraqi bunker and using it to call his wife in the U.S. The movie is extremely funny at times, graphically violent at times, but always on target. It provides a lot of insight into how non-Americans view the U.S. I cannot think of another major movie which showed people in a third-world country as modern people without patronizing. Even the soldiers shooting at our heros, gassing the refugees, and torturing Mark Wahlberg's character are shown as human beings. Somehow this movie got lost last year amongst all the hype for "American Beauty". "Three Kings" looks to have much more staying power. George Clooney continues to shine in yet another under-appreciated performance. For somebody with a Hollywood legacy, he really seems to have pushed some of the wrong buttons in Hollywood. I cannot think of any other explanation for why he has yet to achieve the acclaim his performances deserve.

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                      06.02.2002 01:54
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                      I really enjoyed this film when I saw it on dvd. I enjoyed nearly every scene in this film and I’m sure you would like many of them to. I hope this review will help convince you to watch it. MANY excellent films have been made about America’s involvement in the Vietnamese War, such as Full Metal Jacket and Apocalypse now - but this entertaining and emotive drama focuses on the Gulf War. After the discovery of a top secret map which reveals the location of millions of dollars of stolen Kuwaiti gold, a motley crew of U S soldiers, led by Major Archie Gates (George Clooney), decide to go on a treasure hunt in the deserts of Iraq. Of course nothing goes to plan and the soldiers, who include the underrated Mark Wahlberg and Ice Cube, run straight into a vicious civil war. Horrific scenes of brutality are served with lashings of dark humour that combine to create an enjoyable 110 minutes. Unlike The Patriot, this is a well-balanced historical account and is not merely an excuse to polish American ego's. In fact, George Bush, the President in charge at the time of this war, is roundly criticised throughout and much of our sympathy is directed towards the Iraqi people. In my opinion this is the main reason it did not do better at the cinema. For those of you who enjoy action and political war movies, this is a must.

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                        20.01.2002 18:17
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                        This film is set in March 1991in Iraq, at the end of the Gulf War. Whilst most of the American soldiers are preparing for their return home to the United States, a few are more interested in looking for a stash of stolen gold bullion to steal in order to change their lives for ever. An Iraqi prisoner is found to be hiding a map which seems to show where the gold bullion is hidden and so a motley group of American soldiers go in search of the gold. The group is led by Major Archie Gates, a Special Forces officer (played by George Clooney). The other members of the group are Sergeant Troy Barlow (played by Mark Wahlberg), Conrad Vig (played by Spike Jonze) and Chief Elgin (played by Ice Cube). Without George Clooney I think this film would have been a lot poorer. He plays the role of the rebel officer really well and is very convincing as the all-conquering force when the team enter the Iraqi village that is hiding the secret bunker where the gold bullion is stored. The film shows how becoming a soldier and fighting in a war can change men, but how they still have deep humanitarian feelings when it counts. The story shows the interaction between the American soldiers, the Iraqi Republican Guard, the local civilians and the freedom fighters. What started as a very obvious task of stealing the gold soon becomes complicated as the men are caught up in the freedom fight and the brutality of the Iraqi soldiers. The film does include brutal killings and torture and I would not recommend it for anybody a bit sensitive and definitely not for young children. There is also a lot of swearing in the film. (The film is rated 15). There are some excellent special effects and stunts in the film that add a good dose of realism. However, there are one of two strange camera effects that I really couldn’t make my mind up if I liked them or not. At times some of the killings are shown in slow motion, which is very effective, but does rem
                        ind you that this is just a film and takes away the reality of the moment. Perhaps that is deliberate and what the director intended, but I don’t think so. The other effect that was used a few times was to change the colours of everything in a short sequence. There is a warning at the beginning of the video that this is going to happen, so I assume a number of people probably returned their videos thinking there was a fault in the recording. I really did not understand why this effect was used, perhaps I missed the point somewhere. The film is certainly action packed and very good to watch. The acting is very good and the whole thing is put together very well. There is a bit of a sub plot involving two female war correspondents which adds an extra dimension to the story which does work quite well. As a lot of the action of the film takes place in and around caves and bunkers, it is quite topical considering the events going on in Afghanistan. I would recommend this film to anyone who enjoys good action movies. As we have bought this video I know that we will definitely be watching it again and I am sure we will enjoy just as much on future viewings.

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                          23.10.2001 00:59
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                          Since the end of the Gulf War there has'nt been many films that have been based on the 1991 war, unlike the Vietnam war where there are so many. This film is one war film where people acctually enjoyed, considering the short time period since the end of the war. Because instead of the usual gung-ho and hero of the day approach in making war film's, there is some quite good humour rather than corney acting, and all this has worked well along with the great cast to support the story line. A bunch of U.S reservist's have gone through the war without any action, so things get a little heated at the opening scene when one of the young G.I's, Troy Barlow(Mark Whalgerg) see's an enemy soldier in the distance waving at him, and after asking his comrades if they are still shooting people, pop's one into this Iraqi soldier standing on a sand dune and kills him. A little while into the film the G.I's capture some P.O.W's and start to search them for any information, when one of them finds a map stuffed up the backside of one of the P.O.W's. This map turn's out to be a map leading to Saddam's stolen Kuwaiti gold that is stashed away in some bunker that is only protected by a small bunch of Saddam's soldiers. When the small group of G.I's retreat to an empty tent to read the map in walks Maj Archie Gates(George Clooney) and takes over on a mission to leave the gulf very rich men. The team also star's Ice cube as Chief Elgin The rest of the film will get quite a few laughs out of the viewer and is definatly worth the time to watch.

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                            22.10.2001 19:56
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                            Just this time they are nicking the gold instead of giving it… The Gulf war has just ended. The cease-fire has been signed by Sadam, and under that all stolen property from Kuwait must be returned. By chance in a search of Iraqi prisinors of war a map is found up a man’s ass. (Don’t ask, its funny watch the film). On it is depicted a series of bunkers, and in them is several millions of Kuwaiti bullion. Gold. The hunt is on. The film stars George Clooney as Archie Gates, an American Special Forces officer who is fed up with the military and wants to retire, Troy Barlow, (Mark Wahlberg) a new father and popular, smart guy, Chief Elgin (Ice Cube), religious, black, kind American reserve and Conrad Vig (Spike Jonze) didn’t go to high school, Midwest, nice but dim are all army officers celebrating the end of the war. Troy, Chief and Conrad find a map that was cleverly hidden (see above), and are deciding what to do when Gates walks in. Gates changes the others minds, not to give the map to their C.O, but to go off and look for the gold themselves, breaking army laws, going AWOL into enemy territory and facing court marshal in the process. Gates, Barlow, Chief and Vig go off to look for the gold in a humvee military truck in a remote Iraqi village, guided by the map. Their search for the gold is interrupted by conflict with Iraqi troops still loyal to Sadam, and a group of refugees. As Clooney puts in the thing that rules life is necessity. What will they deem more important the gold, or the welfare of people tore apart by the conflict? Adriana Cruz is a TV news reporter live on the gulf to get the latest action for her station, but also to beat the rival news stations with the biggest story. She is losing popularity to younger, prettier reporters, so befriends Archie Gates (Clooney) as she trusts him to help her get that big story. In doing so, Gates tries to fob her off with a fake story, but she gets inv
                            olved with the gold hunt. At the end of the film (I will try not to give too much away here) she does a very moving story, and ends well and gets her story. The end result is a very decent film. There is plenty of action, some funny moments that give the film a more light hearted approach than other war films, whilst at the same time can be emotional charging for the viewer, as the horrors and reality of the Gulf War sets in. The part of the story with the TV crews all crowing for the biggest scoops shows the part well that TV crews just care about beating each other, while remembering how much the Gulf war was replayed on peoples TV screens each night in the televised war. I recently got a new toy, a DVD drive for my computer. Three Kings was the first DVD I decide to try out on it, for some simple reasons, firstly the price, secondly it was known to be a good film, and lastly it was supposed to have some good scenes that would be a test for my PC. On the first part, the price, I picked up this DVD for £9.99 at my local Virgin Meagstore in Exeter, they were doing some deal with chart DVDs. Cant go wrong with that price, especially if the DVD drive turns out to be a total failure. Other useful details, it was produced by Warner Bros., directed by David O’Russel, who I think did a great job. Running time approximately 111 mins, my version at least was made in 2.35.1 ratio and was widescreen. Sorry I do not know how much this varies across the board, this was my first DVD, so I am not expert. The DVD is split up into 31 chapters, between 2-5 minutes in length for easy surfing and picking up where you left off. The soundtrack is great, adding depth to the film and is great quality off the DVD, no more VHS for me. There is a message at the start of the film saying that there is special colour and distortion in the film that add to the impact, so it is not your DVD drive getting buggered, it is all for the sake of film. In truth
                            it does work, clearly a lot of work has gone into the production and editing, and it runs smoothly as a result. The film is rated as 15, rightly so as there is lots of bad language throughout, as well as some of the horrors of war. The rating is deserved, but I am glad it was not cleaned up, it manages to give a feeling of real life, and shows the true horrors of war. There are two scenes that stick in my mind, when Troy is being force fed oil as part of torture when he is captured, is pretty graphic, and when an Iraqi soldier shots a village woman through the head with her young children watching. Sick it is, but it shows the horrors well, there are deaths, but shows it all in taste, and not simply for the hell of blood and guts on yours screen. The DVD comes with loads of special features, as well as sharp pictures and quality sound. All you would really expect, and rightly so. There is a choice of subtitles, English and for some strange reason Bulgarian, Romania and the Saudi version of Arabic, but no French or German strangely. There are also interviews with cast, internet links and information about the Gulf War, a detail of the ‘assmap’, as well as a pretty good section of the biographies of the characters in the film, and a tour of the sets in the middle east. Also stills, audio guides Great overall, some very nice touches and features. The bottom line: This is a great film, the extras on the DVD are great, both useful and interesting. The film is true, showing what happened in the Gulf, to my knowledge is historically accurate, although not based on a true story, the acing is great, and it is a really emotional film. A great buy, not just at the price I got this, this is my first DVD, and is great quality.

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                              20.10.2001 23:11
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                              The Gulf war has just ended, for the Americans about to go home there’s only one thing to do, PARTY. Set in the Iraqi desert these soldiers are hot, tired and fed up that they haven’t seen much action. That is all about to change with the discovery of a secret Iraqi map hidden in a very, very private place from one of the enemy soldiers. Trying to hide this newfound treasure map, the only ones to know about its existence decide to set off into the desert in search of the hidden bunkers in the heart of the Iraqi villages. This is where the film picks up, as they are plunged into the heart of the democratic uprising that spins the day and their lives out of control. The actors include Mark Wahlberg, Ice Cube and George Clooney. These are the three Kings that set off to find the millions of pounds in gold bullion. Each man plays his part well to the extent it needs be and all come together to build a fuller picture. Upon seeing this film at the cinema I was unsure as to where it was heading. Ice Cube portrays the typical American war “Coming at ya!” soldier. Each man seems to include special roles and they work these out well. No film like this would be complete without the women journalists on scene being so stupid as to risk their lives for nothing but a little session with the major general. Two women reporters appear in this and each one is at each other’s throats to get the better story. The action scenes in this take a strange twist in some areas with the bullet whizzing through the air, which brings a sense of the matrix to mind. Also some scenes show the damage done to the inside of the body when hit by a rather painful piece of shrapnel/bullet. The film seems to drag on a bit over the line into stupidity though with some ideas in the film. These examples will not ruin the story but will prove a point: 1) One soldier when taken hostage is thrown into a cell, not only with clothes and other cheap West
                              ern items but A WHOLE BATCH OF MOBILE PHONES! To add to this stupidity, they work. 2) A reporter is in the middle of crossfire and the Iraqi gunmen near her say: “Hey look, it’s that MSNBC newswomen”. Please Warner Brothers, don’t test us! I won’t add any more because then I’ll have given the whole script away but I can say it has quite a dramatic yet moving ending involving a lung pump and a couple of Million pounds of gold bullion. A bad thing about this film is the fact that it is like a hose with no one hanging on. It doesn’t know where to go through most of the film but it does manage to stay together and keep it in a good style. A few scenes may be strong but it has only been given a 15 certificate by the BBFC. Described by News of The World as “ Absolutely Unmissable” I definitely say its worth a go. With great film potential, sleek acting and a pumping soundtrack you’ve got nothing to lose. Maybe a lot of gold bullion.

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                              A confident hybrid of M*A*S*H, Treasure of the Sierra Madre, and Dr. Strangelove, Three Kings is one of the most seriously funny war movies ever made. Improving the premise of Kelly's Heroes with scathing intelligence, it explores the odd connection between war and consumerism in the age of Humvees and cellular phones. Writer-director David O. Russell's third film (after Spanking the Monkey and Flirting with Disaster) is a no-holds-barred portrait of personal conscience in the volatile arena of politics, played out by one of the most gifted filmmakers to emerge in the 1990s. George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Ice Cube and Spike Jonze (director of Being John Malkovich) play a quartet of US soldiers who, disillusioned by Operation Desert Storm, decide to steal $23 million in gold hijacked from Kuwait by Saddam Hussein's army. Getting the bullion out of an Iraqi stronghold is easy; keeping it is a potentially lethal proposition. By the end of their mercenary mission, the Americans can no longer ignore war-time atrocities, and conscience demands their aid to Kuwaiti rebels abandoned by President George Bush's fickle war-time policy. This is serious stuff indeed, but Russell infuses Three Kings with a keen sense of the absurd, and the entire film is an exercise in breathtaking visual ingenuity. Despite a conventional ending that's mildly disappointing for such a brashly original film, Three Kings conveys the brutal madness of war while making you laugh out loud at the insanity. --Jeff Shannon