Mania Grade: C+
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- Rated: PG-13
- Starring: Kevin Costner, Amber Heard, Hailee Steinfeld
- Written By: Adi Hasak (screenplay), Luc Besson (screenplay)
- Directed By: McG
- Distributor: 20th Century Fox
- Original Year of Release: 2014
- Special Features: See Below
3 Days to Kill: Blu-Ray Review
Family conflict sub-plot dulls this action/thriller
By Tim Janson
May 25, 2014
Amber Heard in “3 Days to Kill”
© 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment 2014
Kevin Costner was one of the biggest box office draws throughout the 1980s and 1990s but recent years have not been as kind. A string of poor films (Rumor Has it, Mr. Brooks, 3000 Miles to Graceland, and Swing Vote) largely derailed his career. Thing have started to look up for Costner however with his roles in the hit TV mini-series “Hatfields & McCoys” and “Man of Steel”. He’s back in the lead role in “3 Days to Kill” with mixed results.
Costner plays Ethan Renner, an aged CIA veteran who learns he has terminal brain cancer that has spread to his lungs, giving him only months to live. He decides to use his remaining days going to Paris to repair his estranged relationship with his ex-wife and teenaged daughter Zoey (Steinfeld). He is contacted by Vivi Delay (Heard), a CIA assassin who wants him to track down and kill an illegal arms dealer known as “The Wolf”. While Renner is reluctant, Vivi provides an experimental drug which could greatly extend his life in exchange for this final assignment. While the drug works to control his symptoms it also has a hallucinogenic effect which can only be countered by drinking Vodka…yeah ok.
Instead of getting a fast paced espionage thriller we instead get a plodding family melodrama. Zoey is your typical rebellious teen who is dating an older boy, gets in trouble at school, and sneaks out at night to rave parties, leaving her dad to clean up the mess. As if that was not enough, he finds that an African family is squatting in his apartment and that their daughter is about to have a baby. These sub-plots only serve to slow the action down to a crawl. I suppose Director McG was trying to humanize Renner’s cold-blooded character but it comes off as awkward and poorly handled.
On the other hand, the antagonists are just as uninteresting. “The Wolf” and his underlings are some of the least competent screen baddies to come along in some time. Thinking these half-wits could manage to sell a dirty bomb to terrorists is unfathomable. More than likely they would blow themselves up first. As much as I love Amber Heard she’s vastly underutilized. She pops up every 20 minutes or so to urge Renner on but for the most part her character is wasted.
This brings us back to Costner. For so many years he’s played the “aw shucks” good guy and it was nice to see him playing a character with a bit more edge to him. While he’s no Bruce Willis he apes Willis’ wise-cracking personality and delivers a number of funny lines in deadpan fashion. He is the only reason to watch the film, quite frankly. While 3 Days to kills serves up a few nice action sequences, as a whole it is an underwhelming movie.
Making of 3 Days to Kill (9:55) – Cast interviews about the story, working with their co-stars, and shooting the film in Paris
McG's Method (4:39) – The cast talks about working with Director McG
Covert Operation (5:08) – Robert Baer, a real life former CIA agent talks about his career in the agency