Review – 3 Days To Kill

If you thought the world needed another B-movie about an ageing American CIA agent laying waste to half of Paris, you’ll probably think again after watching this sloppy Eurotrash from journeyman McG.

No-one's happier to see Costner back on the big screen than I, it's just a shame it's in something as underwhelming as 3 Days To Kill

No-one’s happier to see Costner back on the big screen than I, it’s just a shame it’s in something as underwhelming as 3 Days To Kill

Following an early career spent making offbeat and highly stylised action films, Luc Besson has largely turned to writing and producing thrillers that are as formulaic as they are interchangeable.

In certain cases that formula has chimed with audiences – The Transporter series proved a tidy hit and turned Jason Statham into a bona fide action star, for instance. Taken also set the box office alight and gave Liam Neeson a surprising and unlikely new career turn as a movie hard ass.

It's an ageing American CIA guy (played by Kevin Costner) in Paris (again) in 3 Days To Kill

It’s an ageing American CIA guy (played by Kevin Costner) in Paris (again) in 3 Days To Kill

There’s an argument to be made for giving audiences what they want; however, Besson has barely bothered changing up the formula and, with McG’s lunk-headed direction in tow, the end result is the unnecessary and lazy 3 Days To Kill.

That being said, it’s great to see Kevin Costner back as a leading man following a series of supporting turns in the likes of Man Of Steel (2013) and this year’s unfairly maligned Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, even if he looks like he’d rather be sightseeing in Paris than shooting half of its citizens.

Ethan Renner (Kevin Costner) shares a moment with her estranged daughter Zoey (Hailee Steinfeld) in 3 Days To Kill

Ethan Renner (Kevin Costner) shares a moment with her estranged daughter Zoey (Hailee Steinfeld) in 3 Days To Kill

Costner plays CIA agent Ethan Renner, who’s diagnosed with a terminal disease and decides to spend his last days trying to rebuild his fractured relationship with estranged daughter Zoey (Hailee Steinfeld) and, in turn, ex-wife Christine (Connie Nielsen). Ethan’s Company service is cut short by his illness; however, he’s drafted in by CIA assassin Vivi Delay (Amber Heard) to track down an international arms dealer called the Wolf (Richard Sammel). You can guess the rest.

The single biggest problem with 3 Days To Kill – aside from the fact it’s not very good – is that it doesn’t know what film it wants to be. On one hand there’s a family drama in which an absent father endeavours to reconnect with the people who really matter once all the assassinating and running after criminals appears to have been swept aside. Steinfeld is a fine young actress and the scenes she shares with Costner are nicely played. Tellingly, it’s in these quieter moments when Costner looks properly switched on.

CIA assassin Vivi Delay ('actress' Amber Heard) in 3 Days To Kill

CIA assassin Vivi Delay (‘actress’ Amber Heard) in 3 Days To Kill

On the other hand there’s the well-worn action set pieces that involve Costner waving a gun around and chasing down generic evil-looking foreign terrorists. Even the film’s big explosive set piece loses its impact after having appeared in the trailer (naturally).

Linked to all this gunplay is the character is Vivi Delay, who looks like she’s been dragged in from a European porn film. It’s fair to say Heard doesn’t get cast in movies for her acting prowess, but she’s on hilariously bad form here and the scenes she shares with a bewildered looking Costner are frankly bananas.

No-one’s happier to see Costner back on the big screen than I, it’s just a shame it’s in something as underwhelming as 3 Days To Kill.

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23 comments

  1. CMrok93 · June 20, 2014

    Good review. Costner just about saves this movie. It’s not terrible, it’s just way too long and conventional by every means.

    • Three Rows Back · June 20, 2014

      Yeah, two hours is a bit ridiculous. 2 Hours To Kill? No thanks!

  2. Consumed by Film · June 20, 2014

    Ah man, this doesn’t sound great. Can’t say its premise captures the imagination. Great work mate!

    Adam.

  3. chris2508 · June 21, 2014

    Good review man.I have actually never heard about this film, probably for good reason. The recent films of Luc Besson have disappointed me because I loved Leon and everything about it so I know what he’s capable of.

    • Three Rows Back · June 23, 2014

      Thanks buddy. Besson has kind of become a parody of himself, unfortunately. Nikita and Leon feel like a loooong time ago.

      • chris2508 · June 24, 2014

        I’ve yet to see Nikita, I’m ashamed to admit… I don’t know why, seems like something I’d enjoy.

      • Three Rows Back · June 24, 2014

        It’s awesome mate.

  4. Tom · June 22, 2014

    Tis pretty fair to say, Mark! This movie was kinda shiite, wasn’t it? (Thank you, autocorrect on my phone. . I almost typed “washed” and sounded like Sean Connery).

    I dunno. I don’t think I gave this film very good marks either, but I actually recall very smugly enjoying this movie because of my deep-seated flame of eternal love for all things Amber Heard. hahahah! She’s terrible here for sure. But I got past it. And the acting in general was pretty shit, too. A 2014 guilty pleasure for me!

    • Three Rows Back · June 23, 2014

      I’d say “shite” is a suitably apt word. I can’t imagine what you see in Heard! I doubt it’s her acting ‘talents’… *Not* a guilty pleasure for me I’m sorrt to say!

      • Tom · June 29, 2014

        Oh no man, it’s not her talents. Unless you spell talents T-I-T-S. 🙂

  5. ruth · June 23, 2014

    This is far from being a good film (tho I enjoyed it more than the vapid The Family), but like you said, it’s great to see Kevin Costner back as a leading man. He still looks pretty darn good but this movie is so uneven it’s laughable. I hated Amber Heard here too, she’s so corny as the supposed femme fatale type.

    • Three Rows Back · June 23, 2014

      Not seen The Family, but the trailer looked awful. The only thing Heard is fatale to is the film itself. She is terrible!

  6. ckckred · June 23, 2014

    Nice review. It’s a bit odd to see Costner back on screen, it feels like he’s been gone since the mid-90s. Haven’t watched this, but I can’t imagine Costner in a Liam Neeson-style role.

    • Three Rows Back · June 23, 2014

      Cheers. Costner remains one of my favourite actors. He was great in Hatfields and McCoys on the gogglebox but otherwise it’s been cameos. He doesn’t look particularly interested in this, which is how I felt about the movie.

  7. Victor De Leon · June 25, 2014

    Only went out on a limb watching this because of Heard and Costner. Costner ended up being the only reason to watch in the end. I gave him props but he just came across as a Neeson clone in the role. I hope Brosnan fares better with his resurgence. Your review, once again, is very accurate. Man, this movie was crap-a-doodle-doo imo. Nice work!

    • Three Rows Back · June 26, 2014

      Crap-a-doodle-doo! I love it!

      • Victor De Leon · June 26, 2014

        😉

  8. Tyson Carter · June 26, 2014

    Costner is always a good watch, but I had no idea (this film existed) Amber Heard was in this. Man do I love her 🙂

    • Three Rows Back · June 26, 2014

      Ha ha! Hmmm, I wonder why! Tyson; you’ve been away too long. Check this out, even though it’s shite!

      • Tyson Carter · June 26, 2014

        I know, but I’m back now. I will watch this, actually looks alright!!

  9. Kevin · August 3, 2014

    Nice review,
    I never figured out Amber Heard’s character, why was she so … nympho. it was a nice twist its a pity i didn’t get it.The movie itself was pretty cool, although i agree with you about MCG not focusing on the right story, giving us way too much family issues which we never asked for.

    • Three Rows Back · August 4, 2014

      Cheers man. It’s a bit of a mess unfortunately, which is a shame as I have a lot of time for Costner.

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