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Three Days To Kill

February 27, 2014

Three Days to Kill (* ½) PG 13

It’s a funny thing what’s happening with Kevin Costner these days. After carving out a career as a romantic lead in the eighties and nineties, he seems to now be attempting to steer his career in another direction, said direction being that of the fifty/sixtysomething action star. It’s a career decision that’s worked well for Liam Neeson, among others, in recent years so I guess it should come as no surprise that Costner’s latest action opus, Three Days to Kill, is co-written by Luc Beeson. Beeson had a hand in writing Neeson’s action vehicle, Taken, which served as a springboard of sorts for him. Compared to Three Days to Kill, Taken looks like a masterpiece and that’s saying something since that film was only so-so at best. Three Days to Kill is bottom of the barrel stuff and it’s evident why it was released in the movie dead zone of February, because if it were released at any other time of the year it would have sunk without a trace.

One of the major flaws with the film is that it suffers from a serious case of identity crisis. It can’t decide if it wants to be an action film or a family drama or any number of other things. The film’s script makes overtures in many directions but never finds a way to cohesively pull all the strands together in a satisfying package as Beeson managed to do in better years with his film The Professional. What we’re left with is a cinematic mess with not much of anything new or interesting to say.

Amber Heard & Kevin Costner in Three Days To Kill

Ethan (Costner) is a CIA agent who discovers, while in pursuit of a mad bomber at the beginning of the film, that the nasty cough he has is actually lung cancer. And that’s during the first ten minutes. From there he attempts to reconcile with the daughter he’s spent too much of his life ignoring (Hailee Steinfeld), the estranged wife (Connie Nielsen) who never knew Ethan worked in the CIA, and deal with the squatters in his Paris apartment. He’s also offered the chance at an experimental drug that may prolong his life if he’ll agree to go on one last mission. If this sounds like a chaotic mess of a plot to you then you’re right on the money.

The film is directed by McG (Terminator:Salvation, Charlie’s Angels), who’s certainly seen better days in his career as well. Here he just seems to be on auto-pilot and, perhaps, with a more cohesive script, the film McG put together may have been a tad more inspired. As it stands, it’s just one big trainwreck that’s best left to its own devices.

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