I bought three kings the other day because it was on sale for super cheap, and I have heard good things about it. A lot of Internet surveys say it’s in the top 50 war films ever made. I’ll have to agree that it is in the top 50 of best war movies ever made, but I don’t think it was perfect. Regardless, it was a good fun story.
Directed by David O. Russell (I Heart
Huckabees, Fighting) this story talks about the days immediately after the Gulf War. A group of American soldiers come across a secret Iraqi map, which discloses the whereabouts of a bunker where Iraq is storing stolen gold and treasure from Kuwait. The soldiers hope to take the gold and keep it for themselves. However, when they arrive at the site, they discover that the Iraqi army is more concerned about persecuting its civilians than stopping them from stealing the gold. They learn that the civilians have been encouraged by the U.S. government to rise up and fight Sadaam Hussein, but are facing certain execution because the U.S. military refuses to help them. This incident creates a crisis of conscience for the American soldiers. Do they take the money and run, leaving the civilians to face certain death at the hands of the Iraqi army? Or do they risk losing the gold in order to escort them to safety across the border into Iran?
The main characters in this movie are Mark Wahlberg (my hero), Ice Cube, George Clooney and Spike Jonze as the soldiers. I was impressed by the acting in this movie, more so than I thought I would. The language was a little rough at first, a lot of the swearing really didn’t seem necessary, but it wasn’t l
ike that through out the whole movie. It was a very touching story though of what men do when faced with a choice of gold or the lives of others. Spike Jonze did a good job in this movie. He was very entertaining to watch. By far Wahlberg stole the screen though. He is just such a good badass character in most movies. I have to admit though, he does suck in some movies, like the happening, but he was fun to watch in this one.
It had some cool visual effects with the action scenes. It was like nothing I have ever seen before. It would show the bullets entering the body slow motion, and it would actually show it “in” the body. It was gross and cool at the same time. It almost paved the way for the Matrix in that in that it was original with slowing down the gun shooting scenes.
Former stand-up comic John Ridley had originally written the screenplay, then titled Spoils of War, as an experiment to see how fast he could write and sell a movie. The writing took him seven days, and Warner Brothers bought it 18 days later. When the studio showed a list of their purchased scripts to Russell, the one-sentence description of Spoils of War, "heist set in the Gulf War", appealed to him. Although Russell claimed he never read Ridley's script, so as not "to pollute my own idea", he admits that "John gets credit where it's due. The germ of the idea that I took was his."
Ridley maintains that Russell shut him out of the process, saying "I never heard a word while he was shooting the movie. Never saw any of the script changes. And then finally, a year later, I get a copy of the script, and my name isn't even on it." Although Warner Brothers worked out a deal to give Ridley a "story by" credit, Ridley remains unhappy with the experience, and has blocked Russell's efforts to publish the Three Kings screenplay in book form.
Russell penned the script with several actors in mind. Although Spike Jonze had never acted in a movie before, Russell wrote the part of Conrad Vig specifically for him, and the two practiced Vig's southern accent over the phone while Jonze directed his first feature film, Being John Malkovich. Although Russell had to convince a wary Warner Brothers to cast an inexperienced actor in such a large role, he eventually won out. Russell said Jonze's lack of previous acting work was beneficial to the film, citing the "chaos that a nonactor brings to the set...he really shakes things up."
The part of Archie Gates was originally planned for Clint Eastwood, but Russell decided to rewrite it as a younger character. George Clooney eventually saw a copy of the script and was "blown away" by it. When he heard the part was being re-written, he jumped at the chance to get involved. At this point in Clooney's career, he was best known for his role as the handsome Dr. Doug Ross on the popular television drama ER. Clooney was ready to pursue a role in film. Unfortunately, Russell seemed unwilling to cast Clooney in the role.
Persistent, Clooney sent a humorously self-deprecating letter signed "George Clooney, TV actor" to Russell asking for the part, and showed up at Russell's New York City apartment to plead his case. Russell still wasn't satisfied that Clooney could portray the character. He instead convinced Nicolas Cage to play the role. However, when Cage became unavailable after being cast in Martin Scorsese's Bringing Out the Dead, Russell gave the part to Clooney. Russell later stated that Clooney "was meant to play the part."