From the very beginning, Three Kings isn't a typical war film. The first act is almost straight-up comedy, and even as the film progresses into a bit more familiar territory, there remains something oddly jarring within the way David O. Russell tells this story, although perhaps some of that can be chalked up to some strange stylistic choices. An anti-war stance takes precedence here, and is unrelenting in proving that message. The film has no shame in throwing punches at United States foreign policy under the Bush administration and the involvement in Iraq at the end of the Persian Gulf War, and works quite effectively in that regard. The film does manage to blend in effective sequences of wartime action and hard-hitting moments, especially towards the end of the film. The four lead performances here are all top notch, including career-igniting performances from George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg and solid turns from Ice Cube and Spike Jonze (in one of his rare acting appearances).
One of O. Russell's earlier films is one of his best. While the ending sags and somewhat fails to live up to the rest of the film, it's a rousing film that's simultaneously entertaining and thoughtful in what it has to say.