Ethan Renner (Kevin Costner) is a CIA Agent whose health is seriously deteriorating. Discharged from his duties, Ethan returns to Paris to spend time with his ex-wife Christine (Connie Neilsen) and daughter Zooey (Hailee Steinfeld). It is not long, however, before Ethan’s past catches up with him, and he finds himself on a job for which payment could well be his life.
Ah McG. We had a quiet few years from the director since This Means War, when he was off producing shows for TV. Well, our respite is over, and the man who once threatened to remake Spaced for US TV is back, with a spy/family thriller that feels oddly like a cheap version of Taken.
It is obvious that Kevin Costner thought 3 Days to Kill would be his Taken, written as it is, by Luc Besson, but where Taken succeeded, this movie fails. Costner is fine in the role of Ethan Renner, but this is nothing we haven’t seen him do before. Hailee Steinfeld is also fine as Renner’s angry daughter, and Amber Heard hams it up as Vivi, the woman who drags Ethan back into service.
Screenwriters Luc Besson and Adi Hasak do not try to do anything new or important with 3 Days to Kill, which is fine, but they have created a lead character with terminal lung cancer who is still able to carry bikes up hills, drive like a maniac and kick bad guy ass. This may seem like a trivial observation, but it is hard to shake the ridiculousness of the situation. As well as this, Ethan spends most of the film chasing a bad guy we know nothing about, and have no idea what his end game is.
McG has produced yet another moderately entertaining, yet moderately irritating film in 3 Days to Kill. The film is never really sure if it is a family drama or a spy thriller, and struggles to reconcile the two sides of the story. None of the actors are stretched in their roles, the chases are fairly fun to watch, but the final set piece is dull and uninteresting.
In all, 3 Days to Kill is exactly what you would expect from a film written by Luc Besson and directed by McG; mildly interesting, over the top but faintly ridiculous. Don’t think about it too deeply, and try to put the cancer subplot to the side, and you may just enjoy the experience.