Starting off like a typical
gung-ho Hollywood war movie i.e. America won the Gulf War all by itself,
this warps into something commendably ambivalent. Clooney, Wahlberg
and Cube [Ice? Whatever] go into Iraq
in search of Kuwaiti gold, and find a simple mission becomes a lot more
complicated than they bargained for, as politics and compassion combine to
interfere. Initially, it's startlingly visual, with internal views of
bullet damage, and the amusing "cow meets cluster-bomb" sequence. These
tide you past the opening spell of frantic jingoism, when it's tough to
keep track of what's happening in a melee of characters and events.
Settling down to the meat of the story, there are sharply effective
moments, such as Wahlberg getting tortured -- you almost end up feeling
more for the torturer than his victim. The changes in attitude across the
characters are generally well-handled, although you feel they're present
largely as vehicles for plot development rather than through any inherent
need for them. Still, it's action with not only a brain, but a heart.