3 Days To Kill must have been written by a 12-year old boy with a book of the most overused movie clichés. I don’t want to believe a professional writer came up with this stuff, especially one who probably got paid more for this screenplay than you and I combined will make this year (yes, you and I have made horrible career choices).
Kevin Costner stars as Ethan – some sort of international spy and assassin who has grown estranged from his wife, Tina (Connie Nielsen), and teen daughter, Zoey (Hailee Steinfeld). He has been hired to track down an international terrorist, The Albino, but it all goes wrong because Ethan is dying, and that illness is slowing him down a bit.
Not interested in the spy game anymore, and with a desire to mend fences with the kid and the wife before he dies in 3 months, Ethan retires and heads back to France to be with his family. Of course, just when he thinks he’s out, they pull him back in.
CIA agent Vivi (Amber Heard) offers Ethan a chance to live! If he tracks down The Albino and his buddy, The Wolf, she will give the hit man an experimental drug that could save his life!
How will Ethan balance his new found parental duties with tracking down international terrorists?
As if that set up wasn’t enough to make you question the purpose of the movie, 3 Days To Kill is a horrible mess. Director McG practically gives a seminar in how to screw up a movie by failing to set the tone. He sets about 10 million different tones with this one.
At times, the movie is supposed to be a taught thriller with lots of action. Stuff is blowing up. Ethan is chasing bad guys on foot and shooting at them. Oh, and we can’t forget the hand-to-hand combat! If McG stuck to that movie, it might have been passable, but he and everyone involved in the creative process wants to make 3 Days To Kill so much more, which makes it less.
Someone thought 3 Days To Kill needed to become a dark, quirky Tarantino-esque comedy with “witty” dialogue between Ethan and the guys he is torturing to get information or the odd people he seeks out to give him parenting advice, and more. If it was better written, maybe the audience would have laughed with glee. Instead, the audience I saw this with was laughing at how bad it all was. It’s so out of step with the movie we have been sold through the studio’s marketing campaign, and through the opening scenes of 3 Days To Kill, that you have to wonder if this was all footage that was supposed to be cut from the movie, but someone in editing made a mistake and left it in.
Then, the movie becomes some strained family drama as Ethan has to make good on all of the neglect he has heaped on his family over the years (all complete with Costner called on to look pained and guilty for it all). Zoey gets bratty and troublesome like all teenagers, while Tina professes how many times Ethan has broken his promises. It all gets very tiresome very quickly.
Plus, that script stinks. Writer Adi Hasak fills the movie with all sorts of flat, unfunny jokes about how old Ethan is and how he is so out of touch with a new generation, and Hasak and McG’s vision of Vivi as some sort of femme fatale/dominatrix who has a penchant for tight black leather pants and getting overly suggestive with Ethan isn’t exactly what they put on the CIA recruiting posters and help wanted ads (unless you are a 12-year old boy with a vivid and age-inappropriate imagination).
3 Days To Kill stinks.
3 Days To Kill is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some sensuality and language.