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THREE KINGS

 
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At Theaters: 10/1/1999 On Video: 4/11/2000
Rated: R Length: 1 hr. 51 min.
Internet: Web Site Movie ID: 109911
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures Inc.
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Storyline Heading
A small group of adventurous American soldiers in Iraq at the end of the Gulf War is determined to steal a huge cache of gold reputed to be hidden somewhere near their desert base. Finding a may they believe will take them to the gold, the soldiers embark on a journey that leads to unexpected discoveries, enabling them to rise to a heroic challenge that drastically changes their lives.
DETAILED STORYLINE
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Movie Type (Genre) Heading
Action Drama - A war story that starts out like Kelly's Heroes in the Gulf War and ends up as something more poignant. A fair amount of action and dark humor is mixed in along the way.

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Cast and Crew Heading
George Clooney (The Thin Red Line, Out of Sight)
Mark Wahlberg (The Corruptor, The Big Hit)
Ice Cube (The Players Club, Dangerous Ground)
Wri/Dir: David O. Russell (Flirting with Disaster)
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Production Notes Heading
About The Production
Enlisting The Cast
Boot Camp
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Content Heading
PROFANITY: Frequent and extreme.
SEX/NUDITY: Sex without nudity; brief rear nudity.
VIOLENCE: Extreme scenes of bloodshed and violence.
DRUGS/ALCOHOL: Brief drinking.
ACTION: Many of the battles include action.
COMEDY: Dark, often subtle and macabre humor.
DETAILED CONTENT
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Critic's Review Heading
Above Average
Just as the Gulf War wasn't a traditional conflict, so Three Kings is not a traditional war picture -- there are no big battles and only a few small-scale skirmishes. Instead, this is more of an action/adventure film, and a fairly good one at that. The film can be seen on more than one level. For those who appreciate light fare, this is a movie about a bunch of friends who go on a treasure hunt and find more than they expected. For those who don't mind thinking, there's uncommon depth to be found in the subtext. Three Kings is solidly structured until the end, which has a tacked-on feel. The conclusion and epilogue both seem like they were added to please Hollywood executives who might not otherwise have greenlighted the project. Overall, however, Three Kings makes for an interesting and occasionally exhilarating examination of modern war and human brutality.

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DETAILED CRITIC'S REVIEW
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Opinion Heading

Based on an Exit Polling of 150 Moviegoers

Ages Age Group
How
Many
Your Probability of
Enjoying This Movie
*
Would
Recommend
Movie To Friends
13-19Teens (M/F)
13
High
100%
20-29Yg Adults (M)
22
Fairly High
91%
20-29Yg Adults (F)
15
Fairly High
100%
30+Adults (M)
49
Fairly High
88%
30+Adults (F)
51
Fairly High
80%
*Possible Ratings: Very High, High, Fairly High, About 50/50, Fairly Low, Low, Very Low.

About Our Opinions

Be sure to read the DETAILED OPINIONS
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OPINION GRAPH


D ETAILED S TORYLINE
March, 1991, the Iraqi desert. Special Forces Captain Archie Gates (GEORGE CLOONEY), U.S. Army Sergeant Troy Barlow (MARK WAHLBERG), Staff Sergeant Chief Elgin (ICE CUBE) and Private Conrad Vig (SPIKE JONZE) have spent weeks marking time in base camp while the Persian Gulf war is fought by high-tech specialists. The impersonality of the war has left the men bored and disoriented and, now that the cease-fire has become official, they're looking forward to leaving this bleak landscape behind.

Archie Gates is a career soldier, a Green Beret who's proven his bravery and intelligence in conflicts around the globe, but his experiences have left him cynical, detached and unwilling to take orders from those less seasoned than he is. He's ready to leave the Army behind, but the undefined civilian existence ahead of him holds only marginally more appeal.

Troy Barlow is young, capable, sincere, and homesick for his wife and baby daughter back in Detroit. An Army Reserve soldier, he believes in the job he was sent to do and he's proud to be doing it for America.

Chief Elgin is a baggage handler at Detroit Airport when he's not on active duty. His civilian life offers him little, as does his military life, but his firm Christian beliefs and his stoic commitment to his responsibilities earn him respect.

Conrad Vig is a redneck who never finished high school. For him, the Army offers a chance to live out adventures he'll embellish back home; he has little understanding of the political implications of the conflict in Iraq, or of the consequences of war. Being out of his element has stimulated Vig to the point where his naivete and excitement are on the verge of becoming an explosive combination.

The soldiers' lives are complicated by the constant, intrusive presence of television war correspondents, especially the hard-bitten Adriana Cruz (NORA DUNN), who badgers Army personnel incessantly for exclusive information.

As the Americans prepare to dismantle their base camp and return home, Troy, Chief and Conrad unexpectedly come into possession of a map that indicates the location of a stash of Kuwaiti gold bullion stolen by the Iraqi army.

While they puzzle over the map and what it implies for them, Archie Gates learns of their acquisition and takes command of the situation. In his words, "Saddam stole it from the sheiks; I have no problem stealing it from Saddam... Just one stash would be easy to take.., and that would be enough to get us out of our day jobs — unless you reservists are in love with your day jobs."

Armed with little more than high expectations, the foursome jumps in a Humvee and launches its own private maneuver. Their plan is to "leave at dawn and be back by lunch."

However, fate plays a trick on these AWOL treasure hunters. Their brief, single-minded foray into Iraqi territory becomes their first face-to-face encounter with the Iraqi people and the complex circumstances of life in a country at war with itself.

One misadventure leads to another, alternating grim reality with surrealistic dark humor, until the four soldiers' mission changes radically, becoming a journey of discovery and redemption, and an adventure they'll never forget.

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