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THREE KINGS SEEK TREASURE FIND REDEMPTION

What World War II did for "Saving Private Ryan," the Gulf War does for "Three Kings, which is to say, it gives the film a raison d 'etre, a reason to exist. Not as graphic as "Ryan," the film nonetheless, has its moments.
Starring three hunks, or hulks if you like, it features George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg and, yes, Ice Cube, as bored and perplexed soldiers, who have sat around the brief war, watching it, as opposed to participating in it. They are anxious to go home. However, there is a catch – they want to go home rich.
Clooney plays Major Archie Gates, a Green Beret destined to retire in two weeks. Wahlberg is new father, Sgt. Troy Barlow, Ice Cube portrays Chief Elgin who is on a four-month paid vacation from Detroit, and Spike Jonze, (the fourth king?) plays loose canon, Pvt. Conrad Vig.
Somehow, the soldiers come across a treasure map – a map describing a stash of gold bullion stolen by the Iraqis from Kuwait. They then decide to find it, and, yes, go home rich.
However, the best plans can be flawed and flawed by a most unusual turn of events. As they go after their booty, they begin to witness the alarming results the Iraqis have suffered from the war. Though the U.S., under George Bush, has encouraged the Iraqi citizens to fight back against Saddam Hussein, and pledged U.S. support, the Iraqis are getting none. When the citizens rise up against Hussein, they get slaughtered.
What could be a real testosterone ride turns thoughtful at this point, as the "Kings" come face to face with their own humanity. Do they decide to help the Iraqis and abandon their treasure?
The film alternates with "moments of dark humor, and awful reality." It has been called a "journey into redemption," which may, or may not, be gilding the lily.
Directed by David Russell, it is written by Russell and John Ridley.
It starts Thursday at Diamond Cinemas.

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