Metascore
82

Universal acclaim - based on 34 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 34
  2. Negative: 0 out of 34
  1. 100
    Some kind of weird masterpiece...one of the best movies of the year.
  2. So overstuffed with random fireworks that despite its politics, it's easy to imagine the film getting a four-star rave from Bush or Saddam.
  3. 90
    When it comes to rousing action, whip-smart laughs and moral uplift that doesn't pump sunshine up your ass, Three Kings rules.
  4. 80
    An astonishing movie that keeps you off-balance from the first scene.
  5. Russell's stylish and imaginative filmmaking wages its own war against lunkheaded and sometimes offensive material.
  6. Off-and-on cynical and sentimental, Russell's darkly comic tale shows how much can be done with familiar material when you're burning to do things differently and have the gifts to pull that off.
  7. A work of strangely bold, distinctly American pop art - proud to be ashamed, ashamed to be proud, unafraid to ignore its commercial bearings.
  8. Exhilarating, alternately funny and horrific film.
  9. 70
    Better than the usual Hollywood rot, but dialectical it ain't.
  10. A war movie with a conscience, an action movie with a funny bone, a caper movie with a shifting agenda.
  11. So wild an approach demands straightforward performances that don't draw attention to themselves, and that's what the actors supply.
  12. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    70
    An impudently comic, stylistically aggressive and, finally, very thoughtful manner.
  13. 90
    One of the most exciting Hollywood action films in years, and the best Vietnam movie since "Apocalypse Now."
  14. A genre movie with an agenda that's too packed. Inevitably, some of the many balls it's juggling get dropped -- (but it's) one of the most entertaining and original actioners in several years.
  15. 100
    This audacious hybrid of cinematic styles is pure entertainment.
  16. A daring, teeth-grinding experience that doesn't let the viewer rest easy.
  17. 50
    Increasingly muddled, cumulatively monotonous, would-be heartwarming, Three Kings becomes its own entertainment allegory -- searching, Hollywood style, for the point at which blatant self-interest can turn humanitarian, while still remaining profitable.
  18. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    88
    You walk out amazed and refreshed by the way it kicks the assumptions out from under the genre.
  19. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    90
    Blackly funny, unafraid to shift emotional gears from farce to horror, peppered with spectacular action.
  20. 100
    An extraordinary experience: an original and brilliant combination of comedy, action and sophisticated political comment -- the best American movie of the year thus far.
  21. 90
    The visuals are wild, the sound track has the audacity to underscore the subtext instead of just echoing the obvious, the comedy is irreverent and occasionally slapstick, and the metaphorical details are consistently strong.
  22. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    90
    A brilliant exercise in popular but palpable surrealism.
  23. A nifty little war movie that defies convenient categorization.
  24. 75
    Visual pyrotechnics and dark humor aside, Three Kings rules because it dares to dig for such truths, whether banal or significant.
  25. 86
    Russell has combined pathos, terror, and black comedy with a dollop of Hollywood feel-good patriotism to make one of the best studio efforts this year.
  26. As entertaining as it is a viable, political message destined to make viewers rethink their stance on war.
  27. Reviewed by: Robert Horton
    90
    It's like a madly inventive hybrid of "Dr. Strangelove" and "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre."
  28. Reviewed by: John Hartl
    70
    Closer to "M*A*S*H" than "Dr. Strangelove," which in itself wouldn't be a bad thing. But for all its engaging qualities, Three Kings doesn't seem to know what kind of beast it is.
  29. Reviewed by: Sean Means
    100
    A biting satire of military myopia and political double-dealing -- possibly the best wartime comedy since Robert Altman's "M*A*S*H."
  30. An all-hell-breaks-loose, panicky fever of a story, all of it drenched in grainy, color-saturated cinematography.
  31. It's full of energy and drops an emotional bomb with its unexpected tale of reluctant heroes.
  32. Reviewed by: Janet Maslin
    40
    It isn't nearly as successful a showcase for this filmmaker's extraordinary talents.
User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 83 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 21
  2. Negative: 4 out of 21
  1. Oct 21, 2011
    10
    Not for those who don't like politics. I enjoyed the original story, the acting was alright and it has just enough action to keep things exciting. Definitely worth watching, I would say not a popcorn flick. Full Review »
  2. KennedyB.
    Jun 13, 2006
    10
    The 3rd best film of 1999(next to American Beauty and Magnolia).
  3. JimH.
    May 7, 2006
    9
    I just watched this for the second time (2006) against the backdrop of current events (ie. resistance to, support for ongoing war vs. terror). Yoon C (and detractors among the metacritics), while your comments are intelligent and incisive, I would argue that this movie is great precisely because it plays (and I mean, plays) along all those lines without telling you what to think. If anything it shows that all people's opinions are ridiculous and it imposes none of its own. It sounds to me like you are looking for a movie to tell you what to think of war in Iraq (that is, to tell you "war is hell" or something like that - the message you are expecting becausue you've already heard it in other movies and novels). Whatever else you say about this, it's a war movie unlike any other. It rocks first and foremost, but it also socks and it even (dare I say) does make you think. And it's still relevant seven years later, in ways that it was not when it was made. That anticipatory quality makes it much more artful than the huge majority of "deep" arthouse movies with a moral agenda. Maybe the best thing about it is that it gets the Schwarzenegger-set to watch and rewatch a movie where a child cries over her dead mother, where men are torn by morally ambiguity, where in the end we are at least given an inkling of how hard it is to "do the right thing." Full Review »