Co-written and produced by Luc Besson, Ethan Renner (Kevin Costner) has discovered that he’s dying and so he decides to leave his job killing terrorists for the Secret behind and go see his family in Paris, hoping to reconnect with his estranged daughter, Zooey (Hailee Steinfeld) before he meets his grace.
However his plans get complicated when Vivi (Amber Heard) contacts him about one last assignment, helping to hunt down one of the world’s most lethal terrorists – and in return he will get injections of a top secret serum that could extend his life. Ethan knows though that if his wife and daughter find out what he’s up to, he’s unlikely to be able to have any sort of relationship with either of them.
There are various bits of 3 Days To Kill that could have made for an entertaining movie, but they’re all slammed together into a mishmash of styles and ideas that comes across as a rather weird mess. For example, the parts of the movie dealing with the character drama of an estranged father and daughter working through their issues is surprisingly effective, but when jammed together with the almost sci-fi silliness of the wonder drug and James Bond villain style bad guys, it seems like two completely separate films.
In fact it’s almost as if rather coming up with the story for 3 Days To Kill, Luc Besson just shoved bits together from the various other movies he’s been involved with, from Leon to Transporter, with little thought about how they’ll fit together. Having McG at the helm doesn’t help either, as while he’s very good with individual scenes he’s never gotten the hang of creating a movie that can find a sustained tone. The result is that 3 Days To Kill suffers from many of the same issues as his previous movie, This Means War, where sections are well-made in isolation but it’s incapable of realising whether a particular scene actually fits into the movie as a whole.
Perhaps its greatest failure though is that it invests so much in its characters without realising that most of it is utterly ridiculous. The whole terrorist plot is the sort of action movie preposterousness that could have been kind of fun in a dumb way, but 3 Days To Kill doesn’t appear to realise that, even when it’s asking Kevin Costner to do utterly ludicrous things and then treating the family dynamics with an earnestness that jars horribly with the rest of the movie.
It’s a shame for Kevin Costner, as on paper both this and Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit should have been major career boosts and he’s actually pretty good in both of them. However both films were major disappointments both critically and at the box office, leaving only Man Of Steel to help reinvigorate his slightly stalled star status.
The Blu-ray includes both the Theatrical and and Extended Cut, but the latter does little except make the movie longer, which after about 90 minutes in, few people would be wishing for.
Overall Verdict: If you can overlook its inability to desire whether it’s a preposterous action movie or dead serious family drama and enjoy both sides separately, you get something out of 3 Days To Kill. But the fact it’s several different, incompatible movies jammed together into one will put most people off.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac