“3 Days to Kill” – Review by Matt Marshall

"3 Days to Kill" (2014) - Movie Review

 3 Days to Kill Destined for Death Row

by Matt Marshall

Kevin Costner just can’t seem to catch a break. Wasn’t it less than a year ago that the 59-year-old actor was left raising his moody alien “son” in Man of Steel? Fast forward to 3 Days to Kill and fathering an estranged rebel daughter is proving to be even more difficult.

Directed by Terminator Salvation’s McG, 3 Days to Kill is splintered in countless directions with ample ambition, yet no driving point to wholly care about. Part of 3 Days to Kill focuses on Ethan Renner’s (Costner) daddy-daughter dilemma, while another is his spy swan song against an overused Paris backdrop. And heaven forbid to forget that Ethan’s also dying in the mix of all this turmoil.

Inject a couple more unnecessary interwoven subplots and 3 Days to Kill is spelled out in full.

For his final mission, Ethan is recruited by Vivi Delay (Amber Heard) to eliminate bald henchman, The Albino (Tomas Lemarquis) and his boss, The Wolf (Richard Sammel). The nicknamed duo are planning some cockamamie bad guy plot, which the details pose an uninteresting aside. It doesn’t help matters that neither The Albino nor The Wolf embrace the slightest sort of dynamic villainy.

But unfortunately for Ethan, he’s taking orders from this plastic drop-dead gorgeous agent half his age. Beautiful to look at, but even with all her seductive costume switches, Heard doesn’t quite fit into scheme of things. It’s a downright ridiculous pairing to say the least. However, Luc Besson and Adi Hasak’s screenplay forces the two-hour scenario to play out without a second thought. Vivi’s only real value just so happens to be possessing the drug to stall Ethan’s brain cancer.

So with the spy plot starting and stopping way too often, Ethan still has to find time reconnecting with his daughter Zoey (Hailee Steinfeld) and wife Christine (Connie Nielsen). More-so his estranged daughter. But since the script chucks the threat of The Wolf and The Albino for a large amount of the middle, there’s no reason whatsoever to not invest more into this clichéd situation.

Costner and Steinfeld are both solid actors in their own right. Just pop in Dances with Wolves or True Grit on a rainy day to really see these two at their finest. But this is 3 Days to Kill and the best either of them can get from this script is a father-daughter crash course in bike riding or some random interrogation involving the makings of spaghetti sauce.

Make no mistake that while McG seems forced to overload the film with this father-daughter subplot, he revels in directing action. Even if the sequences occasionally lack coherence, there’s seems to still be a greater directorial interest. Ironically, it’s unnerving to witness how minimal the action in 3 Day to Kill is outside besides the bookended confrontations. It’s not a good sign for the audience to disregard the villains at large while this uneasy relationship flourishes.

Give McG some credit the film’s cold open entertains with its out of nowhere bang. The signature James Bond intro comes to mind. Maybe one of the more weaker ones perhaps, but still worth a mention. It’s just that after 20 minutes, 3 Days to Kill goes south.

It leaves plenty of unanswered questions needing fulfilled. Many of which by the end of the film are hardly satisfied, but the efforts from McG and the screenwriters are evident. At least for Costner, he’s allotted many Liam Neeson moments from the start. The 59-year-old Costner can still kick some serious butt when necessary. But his frequent vulnerability shouldn’t be counted out either.

Somewhere within 3 Days to Kill, there are fragments of slight intrigue, but it’s all for nothing with countless disjointed plot elements.

In McG’s defense, 3 Days to Kill is one of his more competent endeavors as a director. But that’s not saying much considering this is the same director who brought us Charlie’s Angels, Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle and This Means War.

GRADE: C- (2/5)


Matt Marshall is a YouTube movie reviewer who hosts MNMreviews. He has a B.A. in Communications/Journalism from St. John Fisher College and resides in Rochester, NY.

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