Three Kings (1999)


When a squad of US soldiers finds a map to Saddam’s horde of stolen Kuwaiti gold during operation Desert Storm, they decide to go rogue and steal it.

Kind of like a cross between Ocean’s Eleven and Jarhead, Three Kings is the Iraq war’s answer to Kelly’s Heroes. Featuring a fine cast and nicely offbeat script, the film starts off really well with plenty of laughs and surreal situations based within the usual “absurdity of war” framework, but when the script decides to throw in a political message it starts to flounder somewhat. There are some valid points made and it’s all very well meaning, but the script is a little too tentative making it feel a little toothless; the best example is in the fact that the point that America was bombing Iraqi civilians purely for the purposes of its own fat cat oil companies  was made by an Iraqi torturer, which torpedoes any moral impact it may have had. Add the fact that their redemption at the end feels very contrived and unconvincing and you walk away from the film feeling slightly cheated.

Having said all that, it’s a fun military heist movie with plenty of laughs and action and as a whole is pretty damn entertaining. It’s just a shame that what could have been the meat of the story felt more like a halfhearted afterthought.



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