3 Days To Kill Reviews
The plots sees a dying former CIA agent (Costner) hired by another top CIA female agent/assassin (Heard) to bring down an arms trafficker. The reason Costner is dying is because he has brain cancer that has spread to his lungs, hence why he has been dropped by the CIA. The reason why Heard wants to use Costner is because he is the only living person to see the bad guys face recently after a botched undercover stakeout.
Whilst watching this I couldn't help but think that I recognised the visual style and uber cooly shot assassin/hitman/espionage theme. I know we have seen this type of stuff many times before but it all seemed very much like a Luc Besson flick to me...low and behold it was a Besson flick! The whole sultry sexy hooker-esque looking femme fatale angle was very familiar and positively wreaks of Besson's brain at work. Amber Heard even looks like 'Nikita' in some scenes towards the finale, that's not a bad thing as she does look hot but its just unbelievably unoriginal as Besson does the same thing EVERY TIME!
Another pretty big issue was the fact the film just doesn't know what it wants to be. The whole thing has that 'Leon' vibe running through it as the main character tries to juggle his hitman/undercover agent life style with his wife and teenage daughter. Naturally his wife hates the fact he works, or did work, for the CIA and his daughter has no clue. Most of the film time is spend with Costner's character trying to be a good dad and make things up with his wife, lots of father daughter moments, heart felt moments, flashbacks to childhood memories etc...its all very schmaltzy in places. Problem is this feels like a mess as its interspersed with sequences of high octane action with a sexual undercurrent whenever Heard is on the scene with her pouting full red lips and tight outfits.
So what is it? well its an action/assassin/undercover James Bond agent/slick espionage/drama/coming of age/teen thriller/redemption/comedy movie...you get that? Yep its got everything! thing is you don't want half of it and most of it is boring as hell.
I guess its down to the quite frankly laughable performance by a clearly seriously aged Kevin Costner who is obviously way too old for this shit. Yeah Neeson managed to pull off the wrinkled hardman act surprisingly well but unfortunately Costner fails at his first hurdle looking like he's about to collapse under the weight of his own ego. What made me laugh is the fact his character is meant to have this terminal cancer in his brain and lungs yet he looks fine! no problems here folks. On top of that the ridiculous plot notion of the Heard's character having some secret formula that cures cancer (or halts for a time) completely robs you of any suspension of disbelief. I hope Costner's character gets that stuff to the local hospital after all this.
So yes there are some nice plosions, car chases, fisticuffs and general espionage tomfoolery but who cares, we've seen this stuff a gazillion times over in far far better espionage movies...and crap ones. Naturally being set in France (Luc Luc Luc...shake it up a bit for Christ sake?!) all the lead cars are naff Peugeot's that somehow manage to keep up with top spec Audi's and all action sequences are set in stereotypical Besson locations...seedy night club, posh restaurant, posh club, the biggest seediest and most extravagant tattoo parlour I've seen, hotels and French downtown streets (I give you 'Ronin'). But as said this might not be too bad if it wasn't split up by lame ass sequences where Costner teaches his teen daughter to ride a bike, teaching her to dance, talks to her about boys, rescues her from yet another seedy night club, lots of heart to heart chats with the wife and daughter about being a better parent blah blah blah.
I realise the film is all about redemption and the main character becoming a family man again but Jesus...lets make up our minds shall we. Either you want a kick ass body count flick or you want a loving family man flick, while we're here it would be a good idea to decide whether the film is gonna be serious or just a daft light-hearted romp. At one point Costner's character is shooting an innocent bouncer in the foot in clear view of everyone! beating young men half to death in a night club and generally causing much death and destruction around gay Paree yet with no consequences at all...and its not half bad in a semi serious manner. The next minute he's got some bloke taped up in his bathroom ready for some torture and instead gets him to speak to his daughter about a spaghetti sauce recipe over the phone...oh the hilarity!
With the stupid little funny moments this could easily be one of those shitty Bruce Willis vehicles like 'Red' which tries to incorporate expensive big budget violence and laughs with an OAP in the lead. Bottom line we all know damn well this basically should of just been another Neeson vehicle, I guess Besson thought it best to change the lead OAP. Its pretty much Costner's attempt at the genre but unfortunately for him someone forgot to tell Besson to try and actually come up with something original and not constantly dissect and regurgitate his previous work.
Good Movie! 3 Days to kill is an excellent movie if you are not looking for something deadly serious. Do I believe there are CIA guys out there who kill a dozen people in a week, and leave that kind of mess? Hell no. This is more like a James Bond movie mixed with regular guy. I envisioned a more action heavy / bare knuckles kind of film and it did have more of a character driven story then I expected, so it still was a nice entertaining film and I loved Costner in this. I kinda feel he's making a strong comeback, that I'm excited for. I say if you like Costner, you love Besson, then this is a film for you!
A dangerous international spy is determined to give up his high stakes life to finally build a closer relationship with his estranged wife and daughter, whom he's previously kept at arm's length to keep out of danger. But first, he must complete one last mission - even if it means juggling the two toughest assignments yet: hunting down the world's most ruthless terrorist and looking after his teenage daughter for the first time in ten years, while his wife is out of town.
Ethan Renner (Kevin Costner) is one of the top spies for the CIA, but a rare and terminal medical condition has taken him out of the field. He seeks out his ex(?) wife (Connie Nielsen) and their teenage daughter (Hailee Steinfeld), a girl he's mostly sent messages on her birthday as the extent of his parental involvement. While living in Paris with his family, the mysterious Vivi (amber Heard) promises a radical drug treatment to extend Ethan's life, but in return she needs his help killing some notorious terrorists in town.
We've all seen this movie before. In fact we've probably seen something similar enough produced by Luc Besson just in the last year or so. The formula is worked over and only the most die-hard action junkies will walk away fully satisfied. The plot is predictable from start to finish, short of the comic flourishes, and has all the trappings you'd expected with a simple middle-of-the-road genre picture. It's a major surprise that the action sequences are lackluster and unimaginative. With Besson as co-writer, and McG as director, I expected at least a few sequences that would stand out from the crowd, some inventive takes on the action genre. Alas, it's the same old shootouts, car chases, and the like. I'm not a huge McG fan but I can at least credit the man for his visual style, which, despite the quality of the films, was evident in Charlie's Angels and Terminator Salvation. With this movie, you would never be able to tell that a former music video stylist directed this. There is no trace of style outside a brief series of shots inside a Parisian tattoo parlor/club that provides some PG-13-approved partial nudity. It's workmanlike direction with few images or compositions that rise above ordinary. Like most of 3 Days to Kill, the visuals are disappointingly bland and drably familiar.
There are also sizeable plot holes that jump out immediately. I'm not even talking about the usual action film clichés, like the good guys being expert sharpshooters, etc. First off, the name implies a remote time period, a natural opportunity for a ticking clock. He's got three days to kill the bad guy... or else. But the movie never really provides an or else, nor does it really justify the title. Why does Ethan need three days to kill the bad guy? He's spending three days watching his daughter, but that's it. We're given no real sense of urgency and the characters, the spies, don't ever seem to sweat or panic. Ethan spends most of the second act bonding with his teenage daughter, teaching her how to ride a bike, and so on. These are not the actions of a man with a ticking clock. Then there's the premise that Ethan has a rare cancer that requires a rare treatment that only Vivi offers. Ethan injects himself with this magic substance and it seems to do the tick, that is, unless his heart level gets too high. Then he starts to hallucinate and collapse. So there you have it, the plot of the Crank films now with a French polish. The problem with this scenario is that it ONLY happens during the most stupid of times. Instead of Ethan's heart rate getting too high in the middle of deadly shootouts and speeding car chases, it's generally when he's one-on-one with an unarmed bad guy. Even with this, apparently drinking alcohol will slow down his heart rate. Knowing this, why doesn't Ethan carry a flask of liquor on his person at all times then? He's supposed to be a professional!
Despite the overwhelming mediocrity and formula-laden efforts, there are a few surprising and effective notes in 3 Days to Kill. The humor, Besson's tongue-in-cheek genre riffing, is spry and involving enough that I wish the film had followed this tantalizing angle and become an all-out comedy. Ethan's attempts to balance watching his daughter with his spy hijinks bears well developed comedic moments. Take for instance an informant that Ethan is intimidating for vital intel. His daughter's phone call interrupts the scene, and she says she needs a recipe for spaghetti sauce. It just so happens the informant is an actual Italian, and so Ethan puts him on the phone. The informant recognizes that the longer he talks the longer he might live, so he draws out relating the recipe, and keeps mentioning how much he truly loves his mother and how she has no one else to take care of her. It's a small scene but it's clever and a nice twist on the formula. There's another humorous scene where Vivi and Ethan debate the difference between beards and mustaches, since she told him to kill the guy with one and not the other. Ethan also forms an offbeat relationship with another informant, a limo driver named Mitat (Marc Andreoni), that becomes so casual, he knowingly helps himself into Ethan's car trunk, requesting to be back before 4 PM since that's when his daughters get home. "I can't promise anything, but I'll make an effort," Ethan says before slamming the trunk shut. This is the kind of stuff the film needed more of, well-crafted asides that punctuate how silly spy movies often are. If only the film just wanted to be funny.
I think Besson and his coterie believed that Heard's (Paranoia, Machete Kills) character was a constant source of comedy, but she's really a hollow pinup, a video game avatar come alive. There is no character here, which may be part of the jape, because she's all style and moody, pert sexuality. She just sort of appears whenever the movie needs a dose of sex appeal (sorry Costner fans). I think her aloof and calculating manner is meant to be taken as comedy. She's brusque but without any real sense of joy. Not to take anything away from heard; she is a woman of stellar beauty, but just having a sexy gal make droll quips while dressed in a corset isn't the stuff of comedy but fetish.
I have enjoyed Costner's (Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit) late spate of film roles and even enjoyed Mr. Brooks. But he's all wring for this film, which looks like a modern Liam Neeson vehicle that he wisely passed on. Costner is convincing as a no-nonsense authority, but he's not ready to take that Neeson-sized step into AARP action star. He sounds like he has a frog permanently lodged in his throat, or they filmed the entire film during a month where Costner was getting over a furious case of step throat. Perhaps he was doing his best Harrison Ford impression. Whatever the case may be, it's not exactly winning, and while the actor sells the comedy bits easier, the badass moments lack the real punch the movie needs. Steinfeld (True Grit, Ender's Game) has a nice rapport with Costner and she doesn't overplay the teenage outbursts. Her character starts to grow a more intriguing dimension when she seems to possess her father's traits, but she's too quickly funneled back into being a helpless damsel to shriek and cry.
When it comes to 3 Days to Kill, there isn't enough new to justify or even enough effectively entertaining to justify your valuable time. Now, if your time is less valuable, say disposable, and your expectations are low, then perhaps you'll find a serviceable amount of entertainment in this formulaic action thriller. When the most exciting part of your movie is the comic relief, then maybe it should have been time to start over.
Nate's Grade: C
The same holds true here. 3 Days to Kill tries to be several different things at once: a family drama, a love story, and a spy thriller all in one. But these many facets fail to come together into something good. It's made fairly well, and the acting is serviceable all around. But the plot is so cliched that it quickly becomes a bore, to a degree that the family-relationship sections come off as more eye-rolling than they should.
And really, there's not much else to say. It's a competent film built on the foundations of hundreds that have come before. And if you don't mind watching a few of those again, give 3 Days a try. But if you don't, I don't blame you.
The film sees Kevin Costner as an effective, if gruff and over-the-hill, CIA spy. Like countless other movie spies, this one has a complicated family life, having an estranged wife and daughter. A rare brain tumor leaves him with 3 months left to live, propelling Costner to "get his affairs in order" and re-establish some sort of relationship. Complications ensue when he finds himself suddenly thrust back in the spy game, needing to track down a ruthless terrorist.
Yes, it's derivate, and filled with clichés. The film takes its family undercurrent very seriously, and I actually felt this worked well for the film, mostly because of the performances. Costner was good, and his chemistry with Hailee Steinfeld makes a familiar family dynamic interesting. His other relationships, with his wife, with Amber Heard, and with the other characters in the film, don't work quite as well, however. The entire narrative involving the arms dealing terrorist is never developed to any satisfaction, and we never care about any of the villains or feel like there's really any stakes at play. The whole subplot involving the experimental drug is also helplessly contrived.
Yet, the film is fun. The action is highly competent, even bordering on impressive, and the central performances are strong enough to mask many of the faults. It's flawed, certainly, but manages to do enough right to make it a passable watch.
Although Luc Besson is only a co-writer, this script carries his trademark, pseudo-French alternation between intensity and fluffy humor, which is often colorful, and just as often jarring, making light of bite by convoluting the feel for this thriller, whose momentum is shaken enough by narrative unevenness. Ostensibly trying to change up pace a little bit, this film goes the way of the typical thriller of its type by featuring aspects of family conflict and whatnot intertwined with momentous agency action, though not as the near-inconsequential dramatic device that it usually is, but rather, as a prominent aspect to the overall narrative, which seriously, almost annoying settles the tension in the air, while still proving to be undercooked. The film very rarely finds a balance between heat and fluff, and never seems to flesh out either thematic extreme as thoroughly as it perhaps ought to, no matter how hard it tries by getting almost contrived in its over-the-top action and questionable portrayal of agency workings, if not histrionics. This narrative isn't especially sloppy, but it does get pretty messy and heavy-handed, either trying too hard or not hard enough, which would be a little more forgivable if it tried harder to keep you from figuring out what's to happen through all of the structural unevenness, rather than fall into its fair share of tropes, believe it or not, against my expectations. I went into this film expecting yet more generic Luc Besson action, but once I got into the groove of the film, I found it hard to deny a potential for uniqueness whose betrayal makes the conventions all the more aggravating, especially when you have time to get familiar with familiar storytelling, due to the film's flirting with a runtime of two hours that is simply not reasonable, as it is largely achieved through fat around the edges that, upon bonding with the unevenness of the film's structure, retards a sense of progression almost to a halt. While the film occupies your time, it entertains thoroughly, but it seems to ask for a lot of investment to offer only so much payoff, dragging its feet through a tonally and thematically uneven narrative of only so much realization, until the final product collapses as an almost exhaustingly messy and rather underwhelming thriller. Nonetheless, as I said, entertainment value stands firm enough to hold your attention throughout the film's bumpy course, offering plenty of colorful flare, even in concept.
The idea behind the structure of this story is way more refreshing than the plot concept itself, and even then, the formula of directly combining CIA affairs with family affairs is a flimsy one which really messes with a sense of consequence, and yet, there is still something interesting about most all aspects of this fluffy thriller, whether it be focusing on a man seeking redemption in the eyes of his loved ones as he sees the twilight of his life, which he might yet be able to save if he completes one last challenging mission for the top level of the CIA. The story is problematic in a lot of ways, and promising in other, and just that can be said about its interpretation by Luc Besson and Adi Hasak, whose script is messy, sometimes something fierce, - what with its tonal and narrative inconsistencies, heavy-handed touches and, of course, taking too blasted long to tell a should-be rather thin story in a misguided manner - but still tight enough in its set pieces, and sharp enough in its humor, to carry color, even on paper. Although one's dramatic investment is surely to be shaken by storytelling's being simultaneously so overblown and so undercooked, it's hard to shake the entertainment value even found in this exhaustingly overdrawn, yet still adequately busy screenplay, especially with direction this fittingly lively. McG has never exactly been a controlled director, and here, he continues to find difficulty in getting a grip on style and storytelling without getting noisy, perhaps even overwrought, but when his efforts are realized, the fun factor really kicks in, whether he be delivering on subtly flashy style and scene structuring during the relatively slower spots, - some of which he allows to slow down enough for a few genuinely touching moments - or utilize high-caliber technical value, flashy, if often over-the-top action, and overall airtight staging in order to craft memorable action sequence after memorable action sequence as a highlight in consistently thorough entertainment value. Honestly, there are a number of times in which the film is so entertaining that it almost transcends underwhelmingness, or at least comes close to doing so, for although storytelling is more-or-less misguided, there is a lot of fun to have here, and if there is a heart to make things all the more endearing, then credit is due to a solid cast. From the underused Eriq Ebouaney to the arguably overused Marc Andreoni, this supporting cast offers plenty of charm, and from the still-lovely Connie Nielsen as an estranged and concerned wife, to the beautiful young Hailee Steinfeld as a rather unlikable, yet still convincingly well-portrayed, if surprisingly un-French estranged daughter (This girl may have been born to an American, but she's been mostly raised by a French mother in Paris, so, seriously, where is the blasted French accent?), there are some more heartfelt performances to give this film some heart, and yet, it ultimately comes down to Kevin Costner, who is playing Kevin Costner, but makes quite the comeback as a leading man, with sparkling charm and even a few hints of genuine heart to endear you to the Ethan Renner character as a dynamite agent seeking to end his career on a bang, and as a flawed family man seeking a new life, while he still has one to redeem. Costner truly carries the film, but he's far from the only endearing aspect of the film, which could have gone relatively far if it wasn't so messy so often, yet is still sure to win the patient over as, well, fun as all get-out.
At the end of the three days, a mangled up juggling of family affairs and hardcore action leads to glaring inconsistencies in tone and focus, as surely as it leads to lapses in plausibility and freshness along an exhaustingly overdrawn path, which is still stuffed with enough colorful writing, lively direction, kicking action, and charismatic acting - especially by the show-carrying Kevin Costner - to make "3 Days to Kill" a wildly entertaining and generally engaging, if misguided thriller.
2.5/5 - Fair
In PG-13-rated actioner, Costner plays a dying Secret Service Agent trying to reconnect with his estranged daughter (Steinfeld) who gets offered an experimental drug that could save his life in exchange for one last assignment.
Though this actor certainly deserves a Liam Neeson-style career rejuvenation a la Taken or The Grey, the participation of McG as director (Terminator Salvation, This Means War) and Luc Besson as screenwriter (Columbiana, The Family) seems to present him with a John Travolta-style career misstep like From Paris with Love instead.
Bottom line: Jack Ryan: Shadow Rebuke
The film did need a rewrite. The film was at it's best, when it shows Costner juggling his job with being with his daughter. There should have been more scenes like that in the film. I did feel that the film was a little predictable, especially with the big showdown at the end of the film. Also, I wasn't crazy about the ending of the film.
Costner shows here, why he was once Hollywood's top leading man. He has a great on screen chemistry with Hailee Steinfeld and Connie Nielsen. Amber Heard was miscast in my opinion. McG I thought did a good job here. I didn't realize he directed the film. It doesn't have the feel of his other films. Some of the action scenes were really good.
I would say, despite some flaws, that I would recommend this film, especially cause of Costner's performance.