By Chris Gore | October 4, 1999

George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg and Ice Cube are soldiers fighting the Gulf War way back in 1991. (It’s funny that the early 90s is now a period.) They discover a stash of Kuwaiti gold stolen by Saddam and face a choice – steal the gold or save the refugees. These greedy soldiers choose both.
The performances are incredible (including director Spike Jonze as a stuffed animal shootin’, white trash soldier), the dialog is smart and the action is original for a change. In my opinion, good action films seem to be going the way of the Western. “Three Kings” is directed by indie filmmaker David O. Russell who made “Spanking the Monkey” and “Flirting with Disaster”. An unlikely choice of director for an action film, however, Russell pumps some much needed life into the action film genre. What is most impressive is that the film focuses on the cost of violence – of course, done in a really, really violent way in which lots of people are killed. In one particularly amazing sequence, Clooney’s character explains exactly what happens when a bullet pierces the human body. Suddenly, the shot cuts to the inside of a human body with organs pumping and we see the bullet pass through and create mayhem amongst the human meat. It’s jarring and effective. The grainy film stock adds to the realism. (The movie was shot with reversal film stock to create this effect.) “Three Kings” is an action movie with a conscience and I highly recommend it.

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