Starring Kevin Costner, Hailee Steinfeld and Connie Nelson

Written by Adi Hasak and Luc Besson

Directed by McG

Running time 113 min

MPAA Rating PG-13

Selig Film Rating Cable


Kevin Costner was one of the biggest leading men in Hollywood.  Some of his major hits were Dances with Wolves, Bull Durham and The Body Guard.   In the 1980s and 1990s, he was the brightest star on the planet. 

The 21st century has seen Kevin go from leading man to character actor.  He has taken smaller roles in films such as Man of Steel and Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.   In his latest film 3 Days to Kill, he combines both aspects of his career.

The film starts with a clandestine mission gone awry.  Ethan Renner (Kevin Costner) has worked for the Company for many years and has little to show for it.  He is a lonely and bitter agent with steadfast resolve. 

The CIA is after a money-man called the Wolf (Richard Sammel) and a terrorist called the Albino (Tomas Lemarquis).  The Albino has a dirty bomb and the CIA wants him stopped.  The mission is compromised and watching the mayhem is Vivi (Amber Heard).  As Renner chases the Albino, he collapses. 

When Renner wakes up, he’s in the hospital.  The doctors tell him that he has only a few months to live. He is estranged from his wife Christine (Connie Nielsen) and 16 year-old daughter Zoey (Hailee Steinfeld).  Renner decides to take what little time he has left and try to mend fences with his family.

Soon Renner finds that he cannot escape the CIA.  As he tries to re-woo his wife and find common ground with his daughter, Renner discovers that emotional connections are harder than killing bad guys.  Added to this mix is Vivi.  She has an experimental serum that may be able to save Renner’s life.  She will give it to him only if he will hunt down and kill the Wolf and those involved with him.

3 Days to Kill bounces between action sequences and tender moments.  Renner has to figure out how to be a dad while trying to find all the terrorists.   The story has two paths.  On one path is the Dad trying be more than a guy in a picture frame.  The other path is an action story of figuring out where the bad guys are hiding and exterminating them.  The serpentine paths between these two opposing stories are the basis of the movie.

This film is all over the place and a real mixed bag of performances.  Amber Heard and the villains seem to be from a different movie altogether.  They all snarl and bite like they are in some blending of a John Woo and Quentin Tarantino with over the top mannerisms.  It almost becomes cartoon violence while struggling to stay in a reality situation. 

At the same time, the family drama feels forced.  One has a hard time believing the family dynamic.  The three that make up the family unit have no chemistry with each other.  They are supposed to be estranged but not strangers. 

Though Kevin Costner is a tremendous actor, he is not up to his A-game in 3 Days to Kill.  This is the kind of role he could play in his sleep and that is the problem, he seems to be sleepwalking in the role.  One expects some passion, even from a guy who is dying.

The film is written by Luc Besson, the man behind some great films such as The Fifth Element and The Professional.  This work is not up to that standard.  While there are moments of flashing brilliance in the secondary characters, the main focus is a bit pedestrian.  It just feels like we have seen all of this many times before.

McG directs 3 Days to Kill.  He is the guy who helmed We Are Marshall, Terminator Salvation and the Charlie’s Angels franchise.  McG knows his way around both drama and action but never finds the right balance with this work.  The film chops along without smooth transitions between action and tender moments. 

3 Days to Kill is just another entertainment, a flick that is not to be taken that seriously.  It is more of a diversion than a cinematic masterpiece, something to take in on a rainy day but nothing to rush out to see. 

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