3 Days To Kill (2014)

As many people know about spies, they never have great family lives. They’re always on a new mission overseas and that can make life at home difficult. Most spies feel bad about this, but it’s a part of the job and someone has to do it. Well, what if you could do your job close to home and hangout with your family while you’re on the job? This recipe should make for action, comedy, tender romance, and an enjoyable movie. It seems, however, that this recipe was very rotten and someone screwed something up in the mix.

Ethan is in the middle of a mission and ready to kill.
Ethan is in the middle of a mission and ready to kill.

Ethan Renner (Kevin Costner) is a spy on the brink of retirement and learning that he has cancer on the job is the icing on the cake for him. While on a mission overseas, he comes head-to-head with The Albino (Tomas Lemarquis), a pawn used by The Wolf (Richard Sammel), a bad guy who is on the top of the most wanted list. As Renner only has a few months left to live, he returns to France to go see his wife (Connie Nielsen) and daughter (Hailee Steinfeld), whom he hasn’t seen or talked to in years. When he’s almost shunned, he’s not surprised and the only thing keeping his wife from kicking him out is the fact that he’s dying. Of course, his daughter is not to know about that.

While in France, Ethan is confronted by Vivi (Amber Heard), a sexy CIA Agent who enlists the help of the retired Ethan. She asks Ethan to find and kill the Wolf in three days, in exchange for an experimental serum that will keep him alive. During these three days, Ethan is asked to watch over his daughter while his wife leaves town and he has to come out of retirement and kill people. He has to be secretive about his work, but he also realizes that he needs to spend time reconnecting with his daughter. Only time will tell if Ethan survives the three days and is able to complete every task on his list.

Vivi needs Ethan to kill the Wolf in 3 days, in exchange for his medicine.
Vivi needs Ethan to kill the Wolf in 3 days, in exchange for his medicine.

3 Days To Kill is about as generic as a movie can come. Director McG (what an interesting name) has taken a spy film and tried to turn it into some sort of family comedy as well. I’m not sure why one would do that, but he seemed to think that it would appeal to large audiences. While I may have chuckled a few times, the overall reaction from the rest of the audience was pretty quiet. I tried my best to believe what I was seeing, but I couldn’t get past the poor acting, poor storytelling, and poor screenplay that someone actually green-lit for this film.

Hailee Steinfeld was one of the few good things about this film, as she brought teenage authenticity and emotion to her role. She did have a few predictable scenes and some cringe-worthy dialouge, but she worked well enough with what she had. She wanted a father figure and she handled that aspect of the film well. I also enjoyed Marc Andreoni, who plays a bad guy with daughters. Costner goes to him for information and family advice and Andreoni’s reactions are priceless. At least he had some fun making this film. That can’t be said for the film’s leads, unfortunately.

Ethan and his daughter talk about their lives in Paris.
Ethan and his daughter talk about their lives in Paris.

Kevin Costner is finding himself in a lot of very different movies this year. He managed to skate by with Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit and I’ve heard that he’s quite good in Draft Day, but here, he just seems bored. His character is supposed to have little energy, but I think that it’s Costner who has little energy left. He shuffles about the film, not really knowing what to do, and he mumbles most of his lines, He’s not enjoyable to watch and even when he kills someone, it’s pretty anti-climactic. His fatherly duties also get annoying, as no spy would every compromise their mission. His relationship with his family is awful and he just seems distant from the rest of the cast.

Well, more so than Costner, Amber Heard doesn’t know what she’s doing in this movie. Since she doesn’t know, we don’t have any earthly idea why she pops up where she does and we wonder why she’s always sporting new wigs. Her character has the sex appeal of my calculus book and there’s no reason for her to try to seduce a dying Costner, especially when he’s slumping along and making disgruntled noises. Heard just conveniently shows up at times in the film and spouts of terrible dialouge that doesn’t even begin to make sense. I think she thought that she was in a different film…

Ethan tries to make good by his wife at their daughter's Prom.
Ethan tries to make everything up to his wife at their daughter’s Prom.

The story of this film is one of the most bizarre and routine that I’ve seen in a while. A man is dying and he has to do favors to get his cure. Of course his family connections are weak and of course he must rebuild them. There are also bad guys with awful names, whom are never explained and thus we have no idea why they’re bad. All we do know is that someone wants them dead and Kevin Costner needs to ride a purple bike to elicit laughs from the audience. That, and leave killing someone for later because he needs to go hangout with his daughter. It all doesn’t make sense and it’s all very dumb and unrealistic. I can understand a comedic approach, but even that was handled poorly.

I’m really not sure what the purpose of this film is and why it exists. It tries to be a family comedy and a spy thriller at the same time, but it’s neither funny, nor is it thrilling. When your lead actor walks throughout the film without a care in the world, it’s hard to rally behind him and wish for him to get better. I’m curious to know what McG was thinking when he watched the final cut, because I was pretty bored when the credits rolled. When the film itself is unaware of what it is, you know you’ve got a big problem on your hand. 3 Days To Kill? 3 Days To Write would have been a better title.

3 Days To Kill Trailer
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yswZKfnmf7c

1.5 STARS!!!

1.5 / 5 stars     

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