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"THREE KINGS"
(1999) (George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Minor Extreme Extreme Heavy Extreme
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild None Heavy *None Extreme
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Heavy None Moderate Moderate Extreme


QUICK TAKE:
Action/Adventure: A quartet of American soldiers gets more than they bargained for while trying to steal Kuwaiti gold from Iraqi soldiers at the end of the Gulf War.
PLOT:
It's the end of the Gulf War in 1991 and Army reservists Sergeant Troy Barlow (MARK WAHLBERG), Staff Sergeant Chief Elgin (ICE CUBE) and Private Conrad Vig (SPIKE JONZE) are upset that they haven't seen any action beyond Troy shooting an enemy soldier. When they come across a smuggled map that they can't read, they realize it's indicating something important, but don't know what to make of it.

Enter Special Forces Captain Archie Gates (GEORGE CLOONEY), a career soldier who's grown disillusioned with the Army's overall mission. Having heard about the map, Gates finds the three reservists and discovers that it indicates the location of a hidden stash of Kuwait gold stolen by the Iraqi army.

They all agree that they have no problem stealing the gold back from Saddam Hussein and dream of what they could do with their newfound wealth upon returning to the States. Having diverted the attention of ambitious TV reporter Adriana Cruz (NORA DUNN) who's been assigned to follow Gates but is now accompanied by Walter (JAMIE KENNEDY), the foursome heads off for what they think will be a quick and easy morning run deep into Iraqi territory.

Yet after finding and then loading up the gold bars, Gates develops a conscience when he witnesses an Iraqi soldier kill an Iraqi civilian. Although official Army policy is not to intervene in such affairs, Gates does just that. After a tense and lethal encounter, the foursome then quickly sets off with the gold and a group of Iraqi civilians, including Amir (CLIFF CURTIS), whose wife was the woman killed.

The only problem is the Iraqi soldiers fire gas canisters at them, causing the soldiers' vehicles to crash and Barlow to be captured by the enemy. From that point on, Gates, Elgin, Vig and their friendly Iraqi comrades try to retrieve Barlow, get the civilians to the Iranian border and keep their stash of gold from falling into the wrong hands.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're fans of someone in the cast or of more modern day war movies, they just might. At best, the film seems that it would be most intriguing to teen males.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For graphic war violence, language and some sexuality.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • GEORGE CLOONEY plays the ringleader of the thieving quartet that tries to retrieve the gold, but finds their priorities rearranged when they decide to help the Iraqi civilians. He uses strong profanity, has sex with a reporter and kills many people.
  • MARK WAHLBERG plays a reservist who also uses strong profanity and kills several people.
  • ICE CUBE plays his religious buddy who excuses his theft of the gold as an act of Jesus. He briefly cusses and also shoots people.
  • SPIKE JONZE plays the last of the reservists who uses strong profanity, kills some people and makes some racist remarks about both Arabs and black people.
  • CLIFF CURTIS plays an Iraqi civilian who sees his wife executed right in front of him and then tries to help Gates and the others retrieve Barlow in exchange for an escort to the Iranian border.
  • NORA DUNN plays an ambitious reporter who's feeling the pangs of getting too old in a "looks" oriented field. She uses plenty of extreme profanity during the film.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this R-rated action/adventure film. Violence, along with related blood and gore, are both rated as extreme due to a great deal of wartime violence where many people are killed in various ways, often with bloody and/or gory results. Some of those scenes, as well as others, may be unsettling and/or suspenseful to some viewers.

    Profanity is also extreme due to more than 50 uses of the "f" word, while other profanities and colorful phrases occur. A sexual encounter occurs that includes graphic movement and related sounds, but no nudity, while a few bits of sexually related dialogue are present.

    Beyond all of that, the standard bad attitudes of the wartime enemy (for beating or killing their own people as well as robbing their neighbors) and our quartet of soldiers who decide to steal back the gold for themselves), and a bit of drinking, the film's remaining categories have little or nothing in the way of major objectionable material. Nonetheless, should you still be concerned about someone in your home seeing this film, we suggest that you take a more detailed look at our content listings.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Barlow and others have a party with liquor, but everyone tries to hide it when a Colonel walks in.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • An enemy soldier's neck is bloody after being shot there and some blood runs from his mouth.
  • We see some soldiers urinating into long tubes that run down into the desert sand, but don't see the stream or any nudity.
  • The soldiers encounter a man smuggling a map that's sticking out of his butt (which we see). Conrad then has to retrieve it and everyone acts in disgust about this (as we hear "sticky" sounds as it's pulled out).
  • Gates shows the reservists some dead soldiers, one who's missing some fingers and another who's buried up to his chest in the sand.
  • We see an imagined version of the first scene listed above where the enemy soldier's head pops off and blood comes squirting out (seen from a distance).
  • We then see an imagined view of the inside of a person's body where a bullet has gone through. Thus, we see all the gooey and moist looking organs, as well as green bile spilling out from the gunshot wound.
  • After an explosion, pieces of cow meat and blood splatter the quartet of soldiers and the cow's large head falls onto the hood of their vehicle.
  • We see a bunch of dead and/or dying birds covered in crude oil.
  • Gates finds what looks like some bloody instruments on a table where prisoners have been kept.
  • An Iraqi soldier shoots a woman point blank in the head, causing blood to squirt out the other side. We then see her body lying on the sand with a pool of blood around her head.
  • Blood squirts out when a man is shot in the leg and we then see blood running down his boot onto the sand below his foot.
  • As a gun battle breaks out, people are shot (with blood squirting out from their wounds, onto others, or runs into the sand below them).
  • Gates' arm is covered in blood (from where he was shot) and Conrad's face is bloody in a later scene after an explosion.
  • We see Gates vomiting or heaving (from the inhaling some toxic gas).
  • We see Gates' arm wound being treated.
  • More people who are shot are bloody, as is Barlow after he's freed (blood on his head, shirt, etc...).
  • Two more men who've been shot are rather bloody and one has to have a syringe jammed into his chest to allow him to breathe (after we see the small and slightly bullet wound in his side). We also see an interior view of that man's internal organs and see some air bubbling through that bullet wound.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • The American soldiers refer to any number of Arab people as "Rag heads," "Towel heads," "Dune coon," and "Camel jockey."
  • The four soldiers plan to steal the Kuwaiti gold currently held and previously stolen by Saddam's forces.
  • Saddam's forces obviously have extreme cases of both as they threaten, torture and kill their own people (as well as previously stealing all of the Kuwaiti gold and other products).
  • Conrad makes a comment that black athletes are better in other football positions than at quarterback.
  • Cruz is a demanding reporter who does what she wants without worrying about the repercussions. In one scene, she steals Walter's army vehicle leaving him stranded in the desert (but does return to get him).
  • Some viewers may not like the attitude of Elgin, a self-proclaimed religious man. In one scene he states that he just takes what Jesus puts in front of him, and since he put the gold there, it was okay for him to take it.
  • An Iraqi interrogator and some soldiers torture Barlow by applying jolts of electricity to him and later pouring what looks like crude oil into his mouth.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" and/or "Blood/Gore" may be unsettling or suspenseful to some viewers.
  • Those include the ones where the quartet goes deeper into the bunkers looking for the gold and don't know what they'll encounter along the way.
  • The quartet has a tense encounter with Iraqi soldiers who are beating the civilians. After an Iraqi executes a woman in front of everyone, the scene gets far more tense and a gun battle breaks out. A tank then shows up and the quartet tries to leave with the gold and the local civilians while the Iraqi soldiers fire at them with many canisters of non-lethal, but apparently somewhat poisonous gas. As a result, Barlow's truck crashes and flips over (nearly running over a land mine/cluster bomb). Conrad then loses control of his vehicle, and he and the civilians bail out just as it runs over a land mine/cluster bomb and explodes.
  • People nearly step on land mines/cluster bombs.
  • We see an Iraqi interrogator wiring up Barlow to apply electric current to his head (which he then does).
  • A man is bound and thus can't reach the air valve that's been placed in his chest, thus effectively causing him to begin to suffocate.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Handguns/Rifles/Machine guns/Explosives/Land mines/Tank/Helicopter gunship: Carried and/or used to threaten, wound or kill people. See "Violence" for details.
  • Shotgun: Used by Conrad in a flashback to show what he does back home (shoots stuffed animals off a car with it).
  • Gas canisters: Fired by the Iraqis at the quartet and the civilians as they try to flee (but the gas isn't deadly).
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "You better not be f*cking with me," "I don't give a sh*t," "Who gives a sh*t," "Cracker" (for a white male, said by Elgin who's black who also uses the word "Nigger"), "Bad ass," "Shut up," "Sorry ass," "Bitch" (what Cruz calls a male soldier), "Smoke your ass," "Ball" (testicles), "Dumb ass," and "Pissed" (subtitles).
  • The reservists shoot Nerf footballs (that they toss into th air) with their weapons as they drive along in their jeep (some of which have plastic explosives taped to them).
  • Conrad spits while driving.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A heavy amount of suspenseful and action-oriented music occurs throughout the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • A rap song plays during a party and the lyrics could not be understood (thus providing the opportunity for some objectionable lyrics to be in it).
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 57 "f" words (1 in subtitles, 4 used with "mother" and 1 used sexually as is the word "screw"), 30 "s" words (1 in subtitles), 2 slang terms for male genitals ("d*ck" and "pr*ck"), 13 asses, 6 hells, 1 S.O.B., and 6 uses of "G-damn," 3 of "Oh my God (1 in subtitles)," 2 each of "Jesus Christ" and "Oh God" and 1 use each of "For Christ's sakes" and "Christ" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • We see a woman having sex on top of Gates' lap with lots of movement and sounds, but no nudity. Their chair then tumbles to the floor as they climax and we see her in her bra (with cleavage).
  • Adriana asks an officer why he can't "find her (another reporter) someone she can f*ck so she'll leave my escort (Gates) alone" when she discovers that reporter having sex with Gates.
  • The soldiers strip down an enemy soldier to reveal a piece of paper sticking out from his butt. As such, we see shots of the side of his bare butt, as well as an overhead view that shows the paper sticking out.
  • An officer tells Gates not to "screw" another journalist.
  • We see Walter in his underwear.
  • Cruz says that she didn't drop to her knees to get her assignments (give oral favors to her bosses), but she does mention that TV reporting is all about sex and looks.
  • SMOKING
  • None.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Amir and his daughter must deal with his wife being executed right in front of them.
  • An Iraqi interrogator says that his wife and child were killed in the American bombing runs.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • The Gulf War and America's role in it.
  • The soldiers' attempts at stealing the gold and their justification of doing so.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Barlow shoots an enemy soldier from a distance, dropping him to the ground. When they run up to him, they see that his neck is rather bloody.
  • A soldier roughly tackles another soldier during a party.
  • A soldier points his gun at one of the prisoners.
  • We see a flashback of Conrad shooting stuffed animals off a car with his shotgun.
  • The reservists shoot Nerf footballs with their weapons as they drive along in their jeep. We then see that Conrad has rigged some with plastic explosives that then explode when shot in the air.
  • Gates shows the reservists some dead soldiers, one who's missing some fingers and another who's buried up to his chest in the sand.
  • We see an imagined version of the first scene listed above where the enemy soldier's head pops off and blood comes squirting out (seen from a distance).
  • After an explosion (that kills a cow), pieces of cow meat and blood splatter the quartet of soldiers and the cow's large head falls onto the hood of their vehicle.
  • The quartet arrives at their bunker destination and hold their weapons on soldiers who are there. Inside, Barlow shoots a lock with his gun and he and Gates then repeatedly try to kick open a door. Further inside, they rough up some of the guards and Gates then gives a command to kill one of them, causing Barlow and Elgin to rush up to this man, their weapons aimed at him (but only to scare him into giving information).
  • Outside, civilians throw rocks at Saddam's forces.
  • Soldiers shoot at an approaching truck, riddling the front with bullets (and hitting the two men in the cab). One then shoots a grenade/rocket launcher whose projectile hits the truck and blows it open, sending its contents of milk spilling across the compound.
  • The Americans push an Iraqi civilian from their truck as they leave the compound (sending the man crashing to the ground behind them).
  • We see a bunch of dead and/or dying birds covered in crude oil.
  • The quartet returns to the original bunker, aim their guns at the guards once again and rough up the one guard who lied to them about the gold. During this, Elgin accidentally fires a shot but later purposefully hits one of the guards on the head.
  • We briefly see police hitting Rodney King (from the famous video clip) on a TV set playing in the background of a shot.
  • Gates punches a guard, while later a man jumps on Elgin, causing Barlow to hit this man to get him off.
  • More Iraqi soldiers show up and start roughing up the civilians (with a soldier holding a knife to one man).
  • An Iraqi soldier shoots a woman point blank in the head, causing blood to squirt out the other side. Gates then takes this guy and throws him to the ground. He then struggles with the soldiers' leader and a shot goes off, hitting the leader in the leg. An Iraqi then shoots Gates in the arm and Barlow then returns fire, hitting that man. Barlow then gets hit with enemy fire and Elgin returns fire, as does Conrad with a large machine gun. Gates then shoots a man up through his jaw (with blood squirting out and onto Gates).
  • A boy sniper opens fire on the soldiers and a tank then returns fire at him, blowing up the building top he's on and presumably killing him.
  • The Iraqis open fire on the quartet and the local civilians with canisters of non-lethal but apparently somewhat poisonous gas. As a result, Barlow's truck crashes and flips over (nearly running over a land mine/cluster bomb). Conrad then loses control of his vehicle, and he and the civilians bail out just as it runs over a land mine/cluster bomb and explodes.
  • Soldiers put a rope around Barlow's head, kick him there, and then drag him away.
  • Elgin tries to prevent Conrad from running back out into the desert, causing Conrad to hit him. Elgin then hits Conrad many times and then they struggle on the ground with more punching.
  • Barlow tries to run from his captors but is tackled by one of them.
  • Some soldiers come in and hit Barlow.
  • A tank fires upon a fortress.
  • An Iraqi interrogator hits Barlow twice on head with a clipboard and then zaps him with a jolt of electricity as a means of torture.
  • We see imagined footage of a huge concrete slab falling onto a crib (presumably killing the baby inside it -- but that part isn't seen). We then see an imagined view of Barlow's wife and infant being hit from behind by a huge explosion.
  • Barlow's interrogators pour what looks like crude oil into his mouth as part of his torture.
  • Some explosives are dropped down into a bunker chute that then explode.
  • A gun battle breaks out between Saddam's forces and the Americans and Iraqi civilians. A grenade/rocket launcher is fired and the projectile blows up a car. A person is shot in the arm. A helicopter then shows up and fires its machine guns at Conrad, and then hits several other people trying to flee from it.
  • More people are shot by the helicopter and are killed. Elgin then throws a football (to which plastic explosives are taped) at the helicopter than explodes and crashes to the ground.
  • Gates shoots several soldiers dead and another in the leg.
  • Barlow fires next to his torturer's head, but purposefully doesn't hit him.
  • A man is shot in the shoulder and his comrades then run up and shoot his shooter dead (and even more after he's dead). The first man later dies from his wound.
  • Another man is shot in the gut and his comrade shoots that shooter dead.
  • A guard hits Amir in the face.



  • Reviewed September 22, 1999 / Posted October 1, 1999

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