[[quoteright:338:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/three-kings-1999-1_461.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:338:"We three kings be stealing the gold.."]]

''Three Kings'' is a 1999 movie directed by Creator/DavidORussell and starring Creator/GeorgeClooney, Music/IceCube, Creator/MarkWahlberg, and Creator/SpikeJonze.

It's a comedy/drama set during the Iraqi uprising at the end of the 1991 UsefulNotes/GulfWar, also known as Operation Desert Storm. During the surrender of Iraqi soldiers, one Iraqi soldier is found to be concealing a map that ends up showing the location of gold that Saddam Hussein had plundered from Kuwait.

The four American soldiers sneak away from the camp, sending their attached journalist on a wild goose chase with another soldier, in order to find and steal the gold. Naturally, wacky hijinks ensue and the four soldiers become involved in the uprising.

----
!!''Three Kings'' contains examples of:
* AmericaSavesTheDay: {{Deconstructed}}; although the four American soldiers ''do'' eventually help out the Iraqi refugees, it was their selfish scheme to steal gold that landed them in trouble in the first place.
* AMFMCharacterization: Conrad Vig wants to listen to heavy metal music while going into battle. Chief Elgin on the other hand criticizes his musical choice and suggest they go into battle with something soothing to calm their nerves and plays an easy-listening song, showing a definite personality clash.
* AntiVillain: In contrast to the usual Hollywood depiction of Arab villains. Säid lacks any of the sadistic tendencies that are common in similar films and is instead shown as a family man who only joined Saddam's army in order to provide for his wife and child. [[spoiler:Which makes it all the more tragic when we learn that his wife and child were killed in a bombing during the war,]] and makes his hatred of the United States more easy to understand.
* AssShove: How the TreasureMap is hidden. The map is consistently referred to as the "Iraqi ass-map".
-->'''Conrad''': Do ya think it's important?
-->'''Troy''': Important enough to squeeze you're cheeks for.
* BadassCrew Semi-Subverted with the four Americans. Although they ''are'' trained soldiers and they are being led by a Special Forces officer, much of they're success comes from the fact that they are going up against an Iraqi army that has already surrendered to them, and thus are no threat to them.
* BatmanGambit: The soldiers and their rebel allies play this card on the guards of the Oasis Bunker, which holds Troy Barlow as a prisoner. Arriving in a fleet of luxury cars, one rebel [[DressingAsTheEnemy dressed as an Iraqi general]] yells at the soldiers for their "failures" and claims that Saddam Hussein is coming to personally execute them. It gets most of the garrison to run away, making it easier for the Americans and the rebels to get inside and rescue Barlow.
* BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor: On they're way to the gold bunker Conrad laments how none of them got to see any action during the war. Major Gates then pulls over the humvee to show them the charred corpse of an Iraqi soldier who was killed by a bombing. In order to give the troops a first hand look of what "action" looks like.
* BlackComedy: The film is absolutely ''rife'' with this, from having a cow be blown to tiny pieces by a cluster bomb, to an Iraqi discussing Michael Jackson during an ''interrogation''.
* BlackGuyDiesFirst: [[spoiler: Averted with a ''vengeance''; not only does Chief Elgin survive, he's also the only one of the main characters to not suffer any sort of injury. In fact the only soldier to die out of the four man squad is a ''white southerner''.]]
* BloodSplatteredWarrior: Played with; the main American soldiers do get covered in blood out on the field, but it's as a result of a cow stepping on a cluster bomb and having it's guts sprayed all over them. As oppose to being involved in any serious action. When the Iraqi soldiers see them, they naturally assume that they must have committed something truly gruesome in order to have been drenched in blood.
--> '''Iraqi soldier:''' Look they are butchers covered in blood!
* BloodyHilarious: That poor ''goddamn cow''...
-->'''Conrad:''' Goddamn! Did y'all see that cows head fly up in the air!? That was like something outta of a fucking cartoon! Crazy!
* BoomHeadshot: Vig claims that Troy did this to an Iraqi soldier when recalling an event that occurred at the beginning of the film. [[UnreliableNarrator This isn't exactly accurate]].
** How major Gates deals with a sadistic Iraqi Republican Guard officer, in retaliation for him ordering the execution of an innocent women. Complete with the man's blood splattering onto his face.
* {{Bowdlerise}}: Sadly, the TV edit was a pretty big victim of this. As numerous edits had to be made in order for the film to be "acceptable" under the standards of basic TV. Such as removing most of the swearing along with some of the more violent parts of the film. A few notable examples include.
** The scene in which a cow steps on a cluster bomb and has it's guts sprayed all over the lead characters is completely omitted from most TV edits. Which creates a bit of a plot hole as the average TV viewer is left wondering as to why the four leads are suddenly covered in blood for no inexplicable reason.
** The execution of the innocent Iraqi woman is either exempt or has the scene cut away before the gruesome part is shown. Robbing the scene of it's emotional impact.
** Quite possibly the most ''egregious'' omittion from the film is the scene in which Major Gates describes the dangers of sepsis poisoning complete with a graphic shot of a bullet showing the effects of said poisoning. A scene which plays an important part later on in the film when two of the characters are shot. With one being shot in the chest and the other one dying from the aforementioned poisoning.
* BulletProofVest: Played straight when Troy is shot by an Iraqi Republican Guard in a heated firefight. The vest manages to stop the bullet and save his life.
* ButtMonkey: Poor old Specialist Walter Wogeman. The laughably inept soldier/buffon who goes through a HumiliationConga over the course of the movie. In fact his status as the platoons resident ButtMonkey is the reason that Major Gates chose him to take Adriana Cruz on a false lead.
* CaliforniaDoubling: The film was shot in the American Southwest, mostly in Arizona but some in California and Mexico.
* CaptainSmoothAndSergeantRough: Inverted in the case of SFC Troy Barlow and his superior officer Captain Doug Van Meter. It's actually Van Meter who is the stern and hard nose one with Troy being the more laid back and easy going of the two.
* CheeseEatingSurrenderMonkeys: Averted with Major Gates' French friend. Who is both a decorated Special Forces officer and helps the main characters transport the Iraqi refugees across the Iraq-Iran border near the end of the film.
* ChekhovsGun:
** Major Gates describes sepsis during a graphic shot of a bullet penetrating internal organs. [[spoiler: Later, one character is shot in the chest and another character dies of sepsis.]]
-->'''Archie:''' No guns, because we know what they do, right Conrad?
-->'''Conrad:''' They make infected pockets full of bile, sir.
-->'''Archie:''' That's right. That's what they do.
** The Nerf football rigged with C-4. [[spoiler:Conrad Vig has an entire bag of them, and Chief Elgin uses one to take out a ''' freaking helicopter.''']]
* ChekhovsSkill: Chief Elgin's day job is an airport baggage handler. This comes in handy when he knows which pieces of luggage can [[RealityEnsues handle the weight of the gold]].
* ChildSoldier: One young boy (a rebel to be exact who looks no older than 10) was sniping Iraqi Republican Guard soldiers from a tower while the main characters retreated. [[spoiler:The tank took care of him]].
* ClusterFBomb: Most of the movie. Saïd in particular seems to have learned his English from some rather foul mouthed American soliders.
* ColorWash: Director David O Russell intentionally gave the film a bleached-high contrast look in an effort to try and reproduce "the odd color of the newspaper images of the Gulf War". Which was one of the many experimental filming techniques that were employed by Russell.
* ColonelKilgore: The four main American soldiers encounter an exceptionally nasty Iraqi Republican Guard officer whose establishing moment involves him [[spoiler: ordering the execution of an innocent women in clear view of her family.]] Naturally this does not sit well Major Gates and his squad.
* CoolCar: Saddams stolen luxury cars, which are used in the assault on the prison at the climax of the film.
* CoolGun: Not as many examples as in most war movies but the Colt Model 727, Mosin Nagant, SKS, and Mauser Gewehr 98, rifles and Conrad's Thunder 5 revolver are worth noting.
* DeadlyGas: Averted; the chemical agent Saddam's army uses in they're gas attack against the Americans turns out to be non-lethal tear gas. However it still proves effective enough to derail their escape plan and for [[spoiler:Troy to be captured in the ensuing chaos.]]
* DeniedFoodAsPunishment: Saddam's answer to the Rebel Uprising is to punish the villagers by depriving them of food and water so they starve themselves to death. Going so far as to prevent a milk truck from entering a village by ''blowing it the fuck up with an'' '''RPG'''.
* DistractedFromDeath: [[spoiler:Conrad dies unnoticed from a shoulder wound while everyone is tending to the seemingly more seriously injured Troy.]]
* DontMakeMeDestroyYou: A variation is said by Specialist Walter Wogeman to Adriana Cruz when she tries to steal his dune buggie. [[SubvertedTrope Unfortunately for him she calls his bluff and takes his dune buggie anyways.]]
* DoomedByCanon: The film hints that the Iraqi rebels could overthrow Saddam shortly after the first Gulf War. Anyone who's studied history should know how well that went...
* {{Dramedy}}: The film manages to walk a fine line between being a serious war drama and a darkly humorous comedy.
* DullSurprise: Troy's reaction to discovering a map in a man's ass.
-->'''Conrad:''' Ugh! Hey man check it out!
-->'''Troy:''' There's a document in that guys ass...
-->'''Walter:''' Ya think he ate it?
* EarnYourHappyEnding: By the end of the adventure our heroes have been shot at, exposed to tear gas, with one of them being captured and put through a truly brutal torture process that involves electrocution and being forced to drink ''oil''. Said hero is eventually rescued by his comrades [[spoiler: but unfortunately one of the heroes is killed in the raid. And just as our heroes are about to be safely escort the Iraqi refugees across the Iraq/Iran border... they are stopped by the US military who arrest the heroes and have the Iraqi refugees recaptured. Thanks to some quick thinking on Major Gates part they are able to strike a deal with the US military and manage to get the refugees safe passage into Iran. However our heroes are still expected to answer for their crimes in a federal court, but thanks to Adriana's reporting they are cleared of any charges and have more than ''earned'' their happy ending.]]
* ElectricTorture: When Troy is captured and held by the Iraqi Republican Guard in an underground bunker. He is hooked up and electrocuted so he may "feel his captors pain". Unlike most depictions of this trope the scene is shot in a more gritty way as you can hear Troy's teeth chatter as he clenches them in pain while the electric current flows through. Incidentally, Mark Wahlberg was shocked for real during his torture scenes, in order to add an extra layer of realism.
* ElitesAreMoreGlamorous: Subverted with Maj. Gates, as he is a decorated Ranger/Special Forces officer who is serving with Delta Force for his last month in the Army. Whose establishing moment involves him getting caught trading stories in exchange for sex. Which kinda soils the whole ''glamorous'' part. Averted with the rest of the lead cast. Who are merely simple civil affair soldiers.
* EstablishingCharacterMoment: Each one the four main characters gets one of these upon their introduction.
** Troy Barlow exudes an easy laid back attitude that is at odds with his rank. And is later shown addressing a pair of Iraqi POW's in a very calm and reassuring manner.
** Conrad Vig on the other is depicted as Troy's polar opposite. Bumbling, brash, uneducated, and when dealing with a pair of Iraqi POW's he eschews Troy's more subtle approach in favor of yelling at them while pointing a ''revolver in their faces''.
** Chief Elgin is by far the most professional of the four leads. His introduction has him sternly chastising his fellow squadmates to clean up their act and stop partying before the captain of the platoon arrives.
** And lastly we have Major Gates whose establishing moment has him selling stories to a reporter in [[SexForServices exchange for sex.]] Only to be caught in the act by his superior officer.
* EveryoneHasStandards: Although the main American soldiers were obviously stealing gold from the Iraqis, after seeing an innocent Iraqi woman executed, even Gates realizes that they probably went too far in their heist. Though the gold is still their ultimate goal, they also do what they can to help the Iraqi rebels as well after this incident.
* FacelessMooks: Intentionally averted by Director David O Russel, in an effort to avoid the tiresome trend of the "faceless enemy" that is so common in most films. He made sure to give the mooks names and faces in order for the audience to better empathize with them, and not see them as faceless hordes whose sole purpose is to die in a hail of bullets.
* FantasticRacism: Of all the American soldiers Conrad seems to be the least racially tolerant of the bunch. It's this trait that gets him into a number of heated arguments with his black squadmate Elgin. Although his attitude towards race may have more to do with ignorance as oppose to any malice on his behalf.
* FauxAffablyEvil: The Iraqi Republican Guard officer adopts this persona when he confronts the American soldiers, in an effort to try and persuade them to leave the rebel prisoners with them. Naturally Major Gates sees right through his facade.
* GatlingGood: The Iraqi attack chopper that shows up near the end has one of these mounted on to it. Cue the OhCrap reaction from the good guys.
* GasMaskMooks: It's actually the ''friendly'' Iraqi rebels who arrive to rescue the Americans from the tear gas attack who are the gas masks mooks. Making it a rare ''heroic'' inversion.
* GenreBusting: It's a war movie/comedy/drama set during the Iraqi uprising at the end of the Gulf War. That is laden with social political messages, adrenaline pumping action scenes, and a healthy dose of BlackComedy.
* GetRichQuickScheme: Major Gate's plans to steal the gold from the Iraqis. Which turns out to be much ''harder'' in practice than in theory.
* GoingForTheBigScoop: Taken to ridiculous extremes by Adriana Cruz, who is reporting on a firefight between Saddam's army and the Iraqi rebels ''while it is going on right behind her''.
* GreyAndGreyMorality: Neither the American military nor the Iraqi Republican Guard is depicted as being any more or less nefarious than the other. With both sides having their fair share of bad apples, and honest working men who are only trying to do right by their country and/or provide for their families.
* GunshipRescue: Inverted; the attack helicopter that shows up at the climax is an ''enemy chooper'', and it's presence helps turns the tide of battle in the enemies favor. Momentarily at least, before chief Elgin blows it to kingdom come with a football rigged with C4.
* HandSignals: In a deleted scene the Americans and Iraqi rebels prepare for the raid on the prison by practicing on a fake bunker. During this exercise they use a combination of hand signals and tactics, that thanks to the film-makers [[ShownTheirWork military advisor are all as authentic as possible.]]
* HelmetsAreHardlyHeroic: The four main characters are hardly ever seen wearing their standard Army issued helmets (save for Conrad and Troy at the beginning of the film, and after that they are never seen wearing them again). This could be justified in that they are going on a "non official" operation to go and steal some gold, and thus figured that they probably shouldn't bother with official uniforms. But still, with them being trained soldiers going in to a potentially dangerous situation you'd figure that they would have enough common sense to bring along their helmets for extra protection.
* HollywoodDensity: Played straight with the characters tossing and carrying gold bars. Somewhat averted with the suitcases, which rip immediately when picked up (although in real life the other suitcases would not be able to handle the load they did, either).
* HumanShield: Used incidentally by Conrad when a dead Iraqi rebel collapses on top of him. Which coincidentally shields him from enemy gunfire, saving his life. [[spoiler: Momentarily at least]].
* IHaveAFamily: Troy's excuse to Major Gates as to why he wants to abandon their heist after a botched first attempt. So he can avoid any unnecessary violence and go home to his family in one piece.
-->'''Troy Barlow''': I just had a daughter major, and if I have to shit in a bag for the rest of my life because I got shot at the end of the war than that's going to be pretty fucking inconvenient now won't it!?
* ImagineSpot: Used several times in the film, such as with Vig recalling Troy shooting an Iraqi soldier, and later Troy imagining his wife and child at home as a bomb blows up their house.
* InfantImmortality: ''Painfully'' averted. [[spoiler: The child soldier is killed by the tank]].
* IntrepidReporter: Adriana Cruz. The no nonsense reporter who Major Gates is forced to babysit. Unfortunately for her, her escort is caught giving away her stories to rival reporter Cathy Daitch in exchange for sex. And is later sent on a false lead, by Major Gates in order to keep her off his back.
** Her rival reporter the aforementioned Cathy Daitch is a more sleazy, amoral variation of this trope. Who isn't above using sex is a tool get what she wants. And overall is depicted as being a worse person than Adriana.
* InterserviceRivalry: Notably averted; Major Gates is Army Special Forces and his squadmates are simple Civil Affair soldiers, yet there is never any sign of disparagement between branch members.
* IJustShotMarvinInTheFace: Semi-lampshaded. Chief Elgin [[PistolWhipping pistol whips]] an Iraqi soldier and his gun fires a round, which sends everyone diving for cover to avoid the ricochet. Afterward Gates tells him to keep his finger off the trigger.
* JitterCam: Used to great effect by director David O Russell in an effort to give the film a more journalistic look.
* LatinoIsBrown: Averted with Adriana Cruz. Who despite her Hispanic sounding name is played by Caucasian actress Nora Dunn.
* LighterAndSofter: To war movies in general. Although the film certainly has it's dark moments, the comedic bits and overall nonchalant attitude the soldiers seem to have about their predicament softens it up compared to the usual WarIsHell type film.
* LudicrousGibs: The results of a ''very'' unfortunate cow stepping on a cluster bomb.
* MajorlyAwesome: Subverted to a degree with Major Gates. Although he ''is'' a decorated Special Forces officer who is serving with Delta Force. He's also lecherous, apathetic, crass, and overall not what one imagines when they think of a fabled officer.
* MeaningfulName: "Three Kings" is one of the names given to the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_Magi Biblical Magi]].
* MexicanStandoff: A tense confrontation between the American soldiers and Saddam's army quickly escalates into this.
* MoodWhiplash:
** Conrad, Troy, and Elgin have become quite cavalier about the whole army thing and are excited to shoot off some rounds as they ride away from the US compound. Archie sets them on a dry run before attacking the bunker. Then a cow steps on a cluster bomb right before they do.
** Everything was going fine, they [[spoiler: got the gold]] in the truck, then some Iraqi soldier [[spoiler: is ordered to shoot some woman [[YourHeadASplode in the head]]. He does.]]
** Archie attempts to pump up the Iraqi rebels to get some free vehicles. The cheering man flatly refuses.
-->'''Iraqi Rebel''': Ahahahaha. Cannot give car.
--> '''Archie''': Alright, I guess we'll buy them.
* NeverTrustATitle: There are four main characters.
* NightVisionGoggles: Spoofed; the only appearance of the technology is in the hands of the laughably incompetent Specialist Walter Wogeman.
-->'''Troy''': Would ya take those fucking this off already? They don't even work during the day!
-->'''Walter''': They kinda do...
* NoGoodDeedGoesUnpunished: The four American soldiers have no problem with sneaking off to go steal some gold. But just as they are about to take off with the stolen gold, they witness an innocent Iraqi women executed in the streets as a result of their selfish actions. It's this moment that convinces them to take a detour from their heist and help out the Iraqi prisoners. Unfortunately for them, it's this one selfless act that ends up getting them into some ''serious shit''.
* NoOneGetsLeftBehind: Gates makes sure they get Troy back before they leave with the gold. [[spoiler:And although they are successful in their rescue operation, Conrad is killed during the raid.]]
* NonIndicativeName: As per MeaningfulName, the "Three Kings" in question are not the lead characters, of whom there are four.
* NotSoDifferent: During the interrogation/torture sequence, Saïd talks about how he only joined the army to provide for his wife and child. This visibly shakes Troy, who joined the Army Reserve for the extra cash to support his family. He also tells Troy about what happened to his family, and tells him to imagine his wife at home if they were suddenly hit by a bomb. After he's rescued, Troy is given a handgun to take some vengeance on his torturer. However, he instead just shoots into the wall nearby, showing that he's realized the pain and suffering Saïd went through in his life.
* NotWhatISignedOnFor: Played for laughs; when Troy orders Conrad to pull a document out of a man's ass the latter bemoans about how he didn't "sign up to pull paper outta people's asses, no sir not what I signed up for".
* NWordPrivileges: The soldiers, Conrad in particular, make liberal use of the word "sand nigger", which annoys Elgin to no end.
-->'''Chief Elgin:''' I don't wanna hear dune coon, or sand nigger, or anything like that from him or anyone else.
** Amusingly he has no such [[HypocriticalHumor problem with the equally derisive terms "towel head" and "camel jockey"]]
* ObligatoryWarCrimeScene: The film opens with Troy killing a surrendering Iraqi soldier after he mistook him for a potential hostile, and getting a pat on the back from his buddies for "shooting a raghead". All in the first minute of the film no less!
* OfficerAndAGentleman: ''Very'' much averted with Major Gates. The man swears like a sailor, mouths off to his superior officer, and shows not a single ounce of chivalry. Much to the chagrin of his superior officer.
* OhCrap: The reaction of Conrad and the Iraqi rebels when they see an enemy attack chopper coming their way.
* OneWomanWail: To be expected in a movie that takes place in the desert; happens toward the end.
* OnlyAFleshWound: Played with; [[spoiler:Both Conrad and Troy are shot within minutes of each other. With Conrad being hit in the shoulder and Troy being hit in the chest. The other characters naturally tend to the more seriously injured Troy first, and thanks to this he survives. Conrad on the other hand dies within minutes, due to being infected with sepsis poisoning.]]
* OutrankingYourJob: At the start of the film, Major Gates' assignment is to babysit a single reporter.
* PistolWhip: Chief Elgin smacks an Iraqi soldier with the butt of his pistol during the raid on the Karbala bunker, and ends up accidentally firing a shot as he had his finger on the trigger at the time.
* PoliticallyIncorrectHero: The main characters are heard ''constantly'' using various deragotary slurs directed at arabs (dune coon, sand nigger,towelhead etc.) with no one( save for Chief Elgin) so much as batting an eye. Which could very well have been TruthInTelevision, considering the time period and non PC attitude of the military.
* ProductPlacement: A Slim Jim shows up strangely enough in the hands of an Iraqi Republican Guard. Unfortunately he doesn't get a chance to enjoy it as [[spoiler: the American soldiers/Iraqi rebels soon lay siege to the prison that he is stationed at.]]
* PublicExecution: See ColonelKilgore above.
* PunchClockVillain: It's explicitly stated that the Iraqi Republican Guard soldiers are only working for Saddam to provide for their families, and know full well what will happen to them if they were to fail Saddam.
* {{Ranger}}: Along with being a decorated Special Forces officer, and Delta Force operative. Major Gates is also an accomplished Army Ranger.
* LaResistance: The Iraqi rebels who are shown ambushing/fighting back against Saddam's army throughout the film. Unfortunately for them much like the aforementioned trope above pointed out, this didn't turn out very well for them in RealLife...
* RecklessGunUsage: One of the earliest things we see Conrad do upon his introduction is have him point a ''revolver point plank at Troy's face''. Later on we see him do the exact same thing this time to a pair of Iraqi POW's only to get chewed out by Troy who tells him to act in a more "professional manner". Only for him to ''immediately'' go back to pointing his revolver at another group of POW's.
* {{Retirony}}: [[spoiler: Averted against ''all odds'' with Troy Barlow. Who throughout the events in the film is shot in the chest (while wearing a kevlar vest), exposed to tear gas, captured by Iraqi soldiers, brutally tortured, shot ''again'' (this time without a vest), and ''still'' survives to go home to his wife and new born daughter. In a tragic case of irony it's actually his friend Conrad (who self-admittedly has ''no'' family to go home to), who ends up ends up dying.]]
** The same goes for Major Gates, whose bio even mentions how he is only two weeks away from retirement. As if to cast doubt over whether or not he will live to see his retirement. [[spoiler: He does.]]
* RevolversAreJustBetter: All throughout the movie Conrad is seen carrying a non Army issue "Thunder 5" revolver. A deleted scene reveals that he received it as a gift from his parents that was hidden inside a ''chocolate bunny''.
* RousingSpeech: Hilariously Subverted; in an effort to try and get some free cars off of the Iraqi rebels, Major Gates tries to get them pumped up by telling them that "President Bush needs them", although he ''does'' succeed in getting them roused up, the rebel leader still flatly tells him ''no''.
-->'''Major Gates''': God bless America and God bless a free Iraq!
* RunningGag: Throughout the movie Elgin and Troy can be heard arguing over which car manufacturer produces convertibles. This is finally resolved when an Iraqi rebel confirms Elgin's belief.
* SawedOffShotgun: Conrad is shown using a sawed off Remington in a montage showing the main characters day jobs back home.
* ScrewTheWarWerePartying: Our earliest glimpse into the lives of the soldiers involves us watching them engage in all manner of dobauchery. From dancing in broad daylight in the middle of an Army camp, to rocking out to Public Enemy at night with plenty of (unauthorized) liquor. Although to be fair, the war ''had'' just ended.
* ScrewThisImOuttaHere: Done by one of Saddam's soldiers after being shot in the hand during the raid on the prison.
* SergeantRock: Subverted with Sergeant First Class Troy Barlow. Although he ''is'' a trained and capable Sergeant in his own right. He's every bit as fallible as the rest of his squad, and addresses his troops in a more polite, nonchalant manner, as oppose to the more stern and harsh way that is common for this trope. He also isn't exactly gung-ho about going into battle, and is the most reluctant about wanting to continue on with the heist after a botched first attempt.
** Amusingly it's actually the ''lower ranked'' Staff Sergeant Chief Elgin who better fits the image of the classic Hollywood type Sergeant. Stern, no nonsense, and hard as a rock.
* SexForServices: Used by sleazy reporter Cathy Daitch in order to get information out of Major Gates.
* SinisterShades: A particularly menacing [[ColonelKilgore Iraqi Republican Guard officer]] is wearing a pair of these when he confronts the American soldiers.
* ShownTheirWork: Thanks to the help of a military advisor who served during the Gulf War. Many of the details in the film, from the uniforms, gear, squad tactics are all appropriate to the setting and time period. With the filmakers going so far as to have the actors undergo extensive training in military tactics before filming began in order to ensure maximum authenticity. A few notable details include.
** Major Gates' patches, Airborne, Ranger, and Special Forces tabs (meaning he completed the Special Forces qualifications course), and overall appearance is exactly what a SF soldier would wear.
** In one scene Major Gates disarms an Iraqi soldier who was threatening a women with a knife, and the hand to hand combat that he uses is the same technique that is taught and used by real life Special Forces.
** The strange little cartoon cards that the Iraqis are seen with are accurate representations of the "surrender" cards that the US forces dropped over Iraqi forces during Operation: Desert Storm.
** Major Gates' description of what a bullet does to the human body is quite possibly the most realistic description of a bullet wound in any Hollywood film. He explains penetrating abdominal trauma accurately; the abdomen has a number of organs with large blood supplies, and several which accommodate normally benign bacterial colonies that can become severe infections outside them.
** Quite possibly the crowning example of this trope is how the filmakers hired an actual anti-Saddam dissident who along with his brother had personally defaced over ''300'' of Saddam's murals during the Gulf War. And in a ironic twist his job was to paint the murals of Saddam that are seen throughout the film. Shown their work indeed.
* SoundtrackDissonance: Watching a pair of American soldiers charging into a village with the Beach Boys blaring in the background is quite jarring to say the least.
** Done once more during the prison raid when amidst all the chaos Chicago's ''If you leave me now'' can be heard playing silently in the car radio.
* SouthernFriedPrivate: Conrad Vig. For one, he's easily the dumbest of the four, he calls Iraqis "dune coons", and he repeatedly threatens to shoot Iraqi prisoners whenever dealing with them. Although he later learns to sympathize with the Iraqi locals as part of his character development. Special mention goes to him rigging a football with ''C4''.
-->'''Major Gates''': What the hell was that?
-->'''Conrad''': I rigged a football with C4 sir.
** Ditto for Walter Wogeman. Who is depicted as even ''more'' idiotic and hopelessly incompetent than Conrad is.
* StormingTheCastle: The climax involves the American soldiers and Iraqi rebels launching a raid on a prison in order to rescue Troy.
* SuperCellReception: One character manages to make a phone call to his wife, on a cell phone. In the middle of Iraq just after the First Gulf War. From inside a ''fortified bunker''. Granted, he does go through a few phones before he finds one that works.
* TakeThat: When the Americans are apprehending the Iraqi soldiers in their search for the stolen gold we get this exchange between Troy and one of the Iraqis.
-->'''Iraqi soldier''': Eddie Murphy very good American music my friend, yes?
-->'''Troy Barlow''': No this is not good music. Eddie Murphy is fucking terrible.
* TitleDrop: Happens when the story of the Three Kings (i.e. the Magi who gave gifts to the infant/toddler Jesus; the Bible doesn't say how many there are but tradition holds that there were three of them because of the three gifts given) is recounted.
-->'''Conrad''': We three kings be stealing the gold!
* TotallyRadical: A minor example. During the torture scene, Saïd continually refers to Troy as "my main man," and at one point refers to torture as a "big bummer." Both are rather dated slang for a movie set in the first Gulf War. Justified, as the phrase was fairly common when he probably learned English.
* TreasureMap: Found in a surrendering soldier's butt, and referred to as the "Iraqi ass map".
* WarIsHell: A more downplayed example. Although the film takes place ''after'' The Gulf War just ended and includes copious amounts of black comedy to offset the otherwise dark subject matter. The film isn't afraid to point out just ''how'' horrific some of the events during the war were. Such as when Major Gates shows the troops the charred remains of an Iraqi soldier who was buried alive, and goes on to explain some of the more ''gruesome'' tactics that were used by the military.
* WearingAFlagOnYourHead: Ironically enough, one of the Iraqi rebels in the background can be seen wearing a rather jaunty looking American top hat not unlike the one worn by Uncle Sam.
* WhatTheHellHero: The Iraqi refugees completely chew out the American soldiers for the damage that they and they're military have done to their country. And demand to know where is "Bush and his great army" now that they need them the most.
* WhereAreTheyNowEpilogue: The ending shows what each of the surviving characters do afterwards, along with the supposedly missing gold the Iraqis claim they have no knowledge of.
** [[spoiler: Chief Elgin left his job at the airport to go and work with Major Gates as a military adviser in Hollywood.]]
** [[spoiler: Troy Harlow has returned to his wife and daughter, and decides to leave behind his career in the military in favor of opening up a carpet store in Detroit.]]
* YanksWithTanks: The American military in the Gulf War obviously.
----