Three Kings

Walter, just stand outside so the chief can translate my Iraqi ass-map ok?

A review by Mike Shea   Movie Rating: ( * * * * * )    DVD Rating: ( * * * * * )

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Three Kings is easily one of the best movies of 1999. Mark Wahlberg, Ice T and George Clooney take us into a day in the life of the Gulf war and on a wild ride chasing some Kuati gold to get away from their day jobs. The movie is along the lines of Kelly's Heros only with a harmful strike of morality that seems to take away from the rest of the chaos. Still, the movie is an excellent portrayal of just how chaotic it was in those strange times. The opening scene, "Are we shooting people or what?", is a perfect example of this chaos. All of the actors in this movie do a wonderful job, each with their own personalities and shortcomings. The audience is never treated like an idiot unlike many movies now a days. While trying to contact the military after being taken prisoner by the Republican Guard, we aren't expected to believe that Troy (Wahlberg) would happen to know who to call on a stolen cell phone. After asking for a listing for "that big ass army in the desert" he then calls his wife at home in the states and tells her to call the local army branch with his last known coordinates which she responsibly writes on a white board on the refrigerator. The blend of music in this movie is just about perfect. Strong use of music can really add the perfect accent to a movie and this really proves the point. The use of U2's "In God's Country" as the concluding theme and Chicago's "If You Leave Me Now" really put the perfect feeling of chaos and irony to the final bunker attack at track 23 (about 1:20 into the film). Amazingly enough, the director mentioned during his commentary that he wanted to take out that particular ending which in my mind would have been a huge mistake. The DVD is as good as they come. The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack makes excellent use of the surround channels. The mortar scene is a perfect example. The picture is a 2.35 to 1 16x9 enhanced picture that does a perfect job with all the details this movie has to show. There are two commentary tracks on top of the usual extras available. This movie has surprise after surprise and fit the same mold as some great war movies before including Apocalypse Now and Mash. Definitely don't miss it.