By EW Staff
Updated August 13, 1999 at 04:00 AM EDT
Credit: Murray Close
  • Movie

Director Russell (”Flirting With Disaster”) wants to make one thing clear: ”Kings” isn’t your standard big-studio, bloody-war fare. ”You could probably count the number of bullets that are in this movie,” he says. ”I wanted to make every bullet count, and to show what they do to bodies.”

That he did. Russell’s unconventional approach to this combination black comedy­drama­action movie — about four American soldiers secretly hunting for a treasure in occupied Kuwait during the Gulf War era — includes stomach-turning footage of bullets coursing through a person’s body.

With great advance word of mouth, the film may become one of Warner Bros.’ Oscar-race entries, though it did have some trouble getting out of the gate. For one thing, Russell wasn’t initially sold on Clooney. ”I literally chased the director for a long time,” says the actor. ”I chased him to L.A., I chased him to New York. I walked into his hotel room and said, ‘Look, I’m the guy for this job.”’ Despite a bumpy start, Russell now says, ”I think [Clooney] did it beautifully.”

Audiences may be surprised by the performances of Wahlberg, rapper Ice Cube, and Jonze, in his acting debut. Says Russell: ”Everybody comes out of the movie much better than when they went in — including me.” BUZZ FACTOR: 7

Three Kings

  • Movie
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  • David O. Russell