An albino, a purple bike, an estrange wife, etcetera – oh my! The plot devices thicken in “3 Days to Kill” an otherwise good looking movie. Hello moviegoers, Kevin Costner is retiring CIA agent, Ethan Renner, who hasn’t missed a day of work in thirty-two years; and now, as he is heading out the door he is diagnosed with aggressive brain cancer and given only months to live – the irony!
‘3 Days to Kill’ (1 ½ sweet potatoes out of four) Stars: Kevin Costner, Hailee Steinfeld, Amber Heard, Connie Nielsen; Director: McG; Genre: Action Thriller; Rated PG-13; Runtime: 117 mins; Opens Friday, 21st 2014.
Ethan (Costner) heads back to Paris, France where his estranged wife Christine – Connie Nielsen – and teenage daughter Zoey – Hailee Steinfeld – live. Zoey has pretty much grownup without her dad save for the one phone call a year on her birthday, but with time running out for Ethan he hopes to find his way back into their lives. Christine will let him back only if he promises he’s not working for “them” anymore; “them” because Ethan has always been vague about what he did for a living. A business trip summons Christine and gives Ethan and Zoey three days to kill or reconnect.
A sultry CIA agent, Vivi Delay, played by (Amber Heard) offers Ethan a lifeline in the form of an experimental drug in exchange for one more job: find an international terrorist called The Wolf – Richard Sammel – by tracking his number one guy, The Albino (Tomas Lemarquis) back to him and ‘kill’ him. Vivi doesn’t serve any purpose other than to administer the experimental drug and try, half-heartedly, to seduce Ethan on a couple occasions.
Ethan ends up juggling the duties of catching up on being dad while hunting down an international bad guy. The former sees Ethan purchase a purple bicycle for Zoey, which he’ll have to teach her to ride as a high school senior because he wasn’t there to teach her as a child. This scene marks a turning point in their relationship, where Ethan assures Zoey when she asks that his not being around wasn’t because of her. The latter has Ethan soliciting parenting advice and tomato sauce recipes from some of The Wolf’s associates along the way.
Ethan has a discerning cough and looks haggard throughout the film but he isn’t slowed in any of the action sequences until the debilitating side effects of the experimental drug kick in…always when the bad guys are within his grasp. There is a nice plot twist and Kevin Costner reminds us how easy he makes this thing called acting look. There is also the delicate situation involving a family of squatters who Ethan discovers occupying his Paris apartment.
Visually the film is very pleasing: from the club scene to the warm colors that snuggle winter in Paris to the Eiffel tower which accents the city in the evening, but there’s too many subplots, too many of which are inadequately developed. Directed by McG and co-written by Luc Besson of the ‘Taken’ and ‘Transporter’ films, the movie ultimately features a script that could’ve used one more rewrite. I give ‘3 days to Kill’ 1 ½ sweet potatoes out of four.
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