Three Kings

Three Kings a Five Star Rental
Original theatrical release date: October 1, 1999

If you don’t get enough fill of testosterone this summer with the first-run flicks at your local mega-plex, go ahead and rent Three Kings, probably the best cynical and sarcastic war comedy ever made.

Lauded as a brilliant film debut by writer/director David O. Russell, Three Kings was the critical favorite last year, and deservedly so. Critics love films that have something to say and say it in a unique and refreshing way. Critics also love cynicism and this film has it in spades. But what Three Kings also has is a heart. It’s a dig to find it, but it’s there. And the effort is worth it.

George Clooney, Ice Cube and Mark Wahlberg play American Army soldiers in Iraq after the end of the Gulf War. They discover an opportunity to go home much richer than they arrived and pursue it, despite the possible consequences to their lives and careers. What ensues is an adventure/comedy/social and political commentary/satire that is absolutely impossible to define. What makes this film so enjoyable is the newness of it all, the refreshing I’ve-never-seen-this-before feel, the satiric combined with the poetic, the political combined with the comic. There is so much being said here, there is so much commentary, but all you really notice are the characters and the situations they continue to find themselves in. The performances are terrific, but the star of this film is definitely the screenplay. There are elements to this film that verge on being slapstick and there are elements that border on tragic. It is truly an amazingly refreshing approach to macho filmmaking.

There are only a handful of quality screenplays produced in Hollywood these days, so treasure a quality one while you can. Rent Three Kings today and prepare yourself for a long, unimaginative summer.