3 Days to Kill



3 Days to Kill
Runtime 117 minutes.
Not for children.

Kevin Costner in “3 Days to Kill.”

Kevin Costner in “3 Days to Kill.”

This continues a long Hollywood tradition picturing mobsters as sensitive, feeling, caring hitmen, who are, by definition, sociopaths; ergo they are not feeling and caring. In this one Ethan Renner (Kevin Costner) is such a person. He kills (for the CIA) with coldhearted, gleeful abandon, but, hey, he loves his daughter, Zooey (Hailee Steinfeld), and feels guilty about abandoning her and his wife, Christine (Connie Nielsen), for his job.

According to the story (Luc Besson and Adi Hasak) he has moved back to Paris, where Zooey and Christine live, to make up for all the time they have been apart. Adding to his woes, he is diagnosed in the first 15 minutes with terminal cancer and given 3 to 5 months to live. Woe to poor Ethan.

He reports to a gorgeous woman named Vivi (Amber Heard) who directs him to kill a bunch of bad guys. Vivi is even more cold-blooded than Ethan (when he’s not being a sympathetic father, that is).

Directed by McG, this is a schizophrenic movie that can’t decide whether it’s a thriller or a comedy or a family drama. There are some lines that had me chuckle, and half of the movie consists of Ethan’s relationship with Zooey. Of course it’s got plenty of violence and ridiculous car chases through the streets of Paris. Car chases have gotten so prevalent and so silly that viewers should be given remotes so they can fast-forward through them.

As far as acting goes, McG didn’t have to worry much. In the first place he’s got Kevin Costner as his star and Kevin Costner always plays Kevin Costner. That’s what he does here and he does it well. The best acting in the movie belongs to Nielsen who plays a wife who feels she has been wronged by her husband, but is still in love with him. Alas, Nielsen’s appearances onscreen are far too few. Steinfeld also gives a good performance in a role with constricted range as a headstrong teenager in Paris.

This is yet another movie that shows the absurdity of the MPAAs rating system. Despite the fact that there are probably three dozen cold-blooded killings and scenes of torture, I actually laughed out loud when there was a scene of a naked woman dancing in front of Vivi but her top was sufficiently obscured by smoke so that her full breasts were not displayed. The result was that the film gets a PG-13 rating instead of an R. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, Hollywood feels that it is much more morally objectionable to show a woman’s nipples than it is to show murder and mayhem.

Despite all these objections, and the fact that the movie is far too long, it is still relatively entertaining if you don’t care about cohesion or credibility.


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