Three Kings
***.5 GM
Starring: George Clooney, Ice Cube, Mark Wahlberg, Spike Jonze

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I was feeling a bit of trepidation as I went to see this film, because I was told that it was a ripoff of a 1970's Clint Eastwood flick called "Kelly's Heroes" (by a person that has seen neither film in its entirety), but suffice it to say the two films are different enough to make them both very much enjoyable.

The similarities between the two end at the fact that soldiers in a wartime situation disobey orders and go out looking for gold in enemy territory. But, whereas in "Kelly's Heroes," Clint, Telly Savalas, Don Rickles and Donald Sutherland never sway from the goal of getting rich no matter what obstacles are put in their way, in "Three Kings," Archie Gates (George Clooney), Troy Barlow (Marky Mark), Chief Elgin (Ice Cube) and Conrad Vig (Spike Jonze) are compelled against their better judgment to get involved in saving the lives of the people that America and Iraq have joined forces to completely buttfuck.

So often in the films I see these days, when things move toward their conclusion, I find myself almost rooting for some tragic final twist in a film - a major character dying, the desparate plan becoming a huge disaster, etc. - just to make sure it stays realistic. But this film managed to involve me so much that I found myself pulling for them to succeed and get the refugees to safety, critical instincts be damned. Aside from one pretty obvious instance of predictability (Four guys, three of them are big stars. Guess which one dies?), the events were original enough to avoid most overdone plot devices and keep people on their toes.

I was very happy to see such a humanization of the people so often ignored and taken for granted in the constant struggle in the Middle East. It's sometimes hard to give a rat's ass about anyone in this world, but hopefully this will make even the most gung-ho American moron take a step back and look at things from a different light. One thing that bothers me greatly about this film is just how many American soldiers went back home in 1991 and felt the way that the partying soldiers at the beginning of the film felt - that they'd just gone over and kicked some ass for the home team! Rah! Whooooo! USA USA USA! We're Number One!

I'll admit, I was sucked into that whole Lee Greenwood hysteria myself back then - I was a moron still in high school, but I was suckered in, buying the merchandise cuz I thought I'd be supporting those proud fighting American folks overseas. I knew there was no way I was gonna enlist - I was already thinking of ways to get to Canada if they put the draft back in effect - but the least I could do is support those guys that were 'liberating a nation' by buying a cheap-ass Operation Desert Storm sweatshirt at my local Woolworth's. I didn't know any better. Now I cringe at the thought of my gullibility then. I hadn't learned jack about life or grown into my cynicism yet.

Maybe a movie like this can bring a few people's heads out of their asses about this stuff. Coat a dose of truth in some nifty entertainment, and maybe a mind or three can be changed. Let's hope for the best.

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