Viking Night: Three Kings
By Bruce Hall
July 29, 2014
There are a lot of people who think we pulled out of Iraq too early back in 1991. And it’s not just because the country exploded into sectarian conflict the moment we left…oh, wait. Yes it is. In the estimation of some, the problem was that the coalition victory in the war had emboldened the Iraqi resistance, who then expected the United States to help them overthrow Saddam. This didn’t happen. So - at least according to the fine work of historical fiction that is Three Kings - while Saddam’s soldiers were kicking the crap out of the rebels, bored American troops were throwing keg parties, giving television interviews and having their way with Judy Greer.
One of them is Major Archie Gates (Clooney), a ridiculously dashing Army Ranger who is having a crisis of conscience regarding his current assignment. The Gulf War, as we’re reminded here, was the first war waged almost entirely on basic cable. Keeping the media (and therefore the public) happy is something the military took very seriously. So, the Major is assigned to serve as personal escort to investigative reporter Adrianna Cruz (Nora Dunn), a woman so bitterly abrasive it’s hard to tell if she’s even any good at her job. That’s probably why Archie spends his free time filling the gaps in investigative reporter Cathy Daitch (Greer), Adrianna’s younger and more… physically accommodating rival.
Meanwhile, Sergeant Mark Wahlberg (because that’s the only character he plays) and his unit literally pull a treasure map out of someone’s ass during an already unpleasant day of processing Iraqi POWs. This leaves Wahlberg and bumbling cohorts Conrad Vig, (Spike Jonze) and Staff Sergeant Elgin (Ice Cube) haphazardly attempting to decode the map when Gates walks in on them. He’s tired of spoon feeding the press and wants in on the “Iraqi ass map” he’s heard so much about. He believes the map to pinpoint a massive stash of gold bullion, rumored to be part of Saddam’s illegal war booty. With the cease fire in effect and the memory of their recent total ass-kicking fresh in mind, the Iraqi army would not hinder them should they choose to steal this gold.
It’s never completely clear how they were going to get all this bling out of the country, but what we CAN see is the fact that this crack team of Treasure Extraction Specialists is anything but.
The gang is essentially Marky Mark, a country bumpkin, a Staff Sergeant who talks a lot of shit but does what he’s told anyway, and a dangerously disillusioned Army Ranger who wants to go AWOL in search of a mythical stash of Iraqi Ass Gold. So of course nothing goes wrong and they all live long, uneventful lives after opening a Coyote Ugly Saloon in South Beach. Just kidding. As these meatheads traverse the Iraqi desert, the growing civil and humanitarian crisis around them makes it very hard to be a pimp. And their greed, when held up against the suffering around them, gives their actions an uncomfortable flavor that’s clearly meant to make you consider Gulf Wars: Episode One on a larger level.