Review: 3 DAYS TO KILL (2014) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Review: 3 DAYS TO KILL (2014)

A bloated mess of a movie that tries hard to be funny and serious, but end up shooting blanks.

When comes to action-comedy genre, director McG tends to fail... big time. Case in point, 2003's CHARLIE'S ANGELS: FULL THROTTLE and 2012's THIS MEANS WAR. Apparently McG screwed up once again and this time, the victim-in-question is 3 DAYS TO KILL. At the first glance, the movie looks potentially entertaining. First, there is once-bankable actor Kevin Costner attempted to make a late-career comeback playing lead action role all over again. Second of course, there is the famous Euro action specialist -- writer and producer Luc Besson (best known for resurrecting Liam Neeson's action career in the first two TAKEN series). However, upon finally watching the movie, I was largely disappointed.


Kevin Costner plays veteran CIA agent Ethan Runner, who is very good on what he does. But his glory day is over when he fails his latest assignment to apprehend an international criminal known as The Albino (Tomas Lemarquis). Apparently he is very sick and learns he has terminal brain cancer with just few months left to live. After finally dismissed by the CIA, Ethan travels to Paris, hoping to reconnect with his wife Christine (Connie Nielsen) and teenage daughter Zoey (Hailee Steinfeld). However, it doesn't take long before he is forced to pull back into work by sexy CIA operative Vivi Delay (Amber Heard), who offers him an experimental drug to treat his illness. And in return, she wants him to complete one final assignment -- to take out both The Albino and his main criminal mastermind, The Wolf (Richard Sammel).

The action-packed opening scene starts quite promisingly with all the shootout and explosion. And for a while there, 59-year-old Kevin Costner still got what it takes to play a leading man in an action role. Hailee Steinfeld delivers quite a satisfying performance as an estranged daughter who hates her father but at the same time, she also wants to rekindle her relationship with him as well.
Sadly, there is none to be found here.
Earlier, I did mention a good thing about Costner's performance. But as the movie lingers on, it doesn't take long before Costner's mostly passive expression (okay, I understand he plays a dying man here but seriously, he still looks as if he sleepwalks throughout his role) borderlines into near boredom. As two main villains, both Tomas Lemarquis and Richard Sammel are totally forgettable. Then there's Connie Nielsen, who is equally wasted in her thankless role as Ethan's wife. Finally, there's Amber Heard, who looks bizarrely over-the-top as a so-called CIA operative. I don't mind if her character requires to look sexy, but what's with all the wig, heavy makeup and her fetish of black clothes?

McG's direction is a mess. He clearly doesn't have a clue how to shift different tones between action, drama and comedy in a satisfying manner. Even his least expertise in the action department is mostly tepid and uninspired. At nearly two hours long, the movie feels like forever (yes, it was slow-moving) and it doesn't help when Luc Besson's and Adi Hassack's schizophrenic screenplay doesn't mix well altogether with all the varieties of genres.

And lastly, I would really like to stress about that misleading title of "3 DAYS TO KILL". For a movie with such title, I would have expect a fast-paced and race-against-the-time kind of action thriller. Instead, everything here is a slog.

Actually I was really hoping that Kevin Costner could make a comeback in 3 DAYS TO KILL. Too bad that doesn't happen here. I hate to say this, but 3 DAYS TO KILL is one of the worst movies I've ever seen so far in 2014.


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