It’s been a long time since Kevin Costner has had a starring role on the big screen. The last time we saw him in a widespread starring role was in 2008’s “Swing Vote”. He is beginning to make a comeback in supporting roles like last month’s “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit”. Now back front and center in the starring role in Mcg’s “3 Days to Kill’. Which doesn’t inspire much confidence. The director of “Terminator Salvation” and “Charlie’s Angels” hasn’t made anything that is of much quality that can inspire any confidence. However this could be the one finally we’ve been waiting for from Mcg, the one where he finally proves himself. Sadly it is not to be, although the film does boast a few exciting moments, but the movie has huge tonal issues and is about ten minutes too long with some instances of poor acting that is yet another misfire from Mcg.
“3 Days to Kill” shows a former CIA agent trying to find a life after his former full of lies, death and deception. He attempts to reconnect with his family and estranged daughter after years of not being there for them. Just when things begin to look up for them he learns that he is dying and the only way for him to save himself is to accept an experimental drug in exchange for getting back into the world of espionage. Now he must keep that secret from his family as he tries to balance his time with his family and the time with his job that could be the death or him or could save his life.
It’s a plot that not incredibly fresh but something that could be easily entertaining. Where the biggest problem is for this movie is tone. It doesn’t know what it wants to be. Some moments it’s a serious action movie. Then the next moment it’s a comedy. Then it’s a father/daughter movie. Then it goes back to a serious action movie. This can work, if you write it or direct it correctly. This movie doesn’t accomplish that. The switches are so abrupt that the audience never has time to adjust. Something serious just happened, then the filmmakers start throwing jokes in there while the tense music is still going and you’ll be left wondering should I be laughing at this or not?
Some of the humor does work well when it is outside of those moments. It gets a few chuckles here and there however they try to repeat the same gag. Ethan (Kevin Costner) will be interrogating someone then will get a phone call from his daughter, then Ethan will punch the bad guy saying “hey I’m talking to my daughter.” This happens about 3 or 4 times and plays out the same way, it gets tedious and boring. Many of the other jokes play out the same way by the end.
The script though is all over the place. Aside from the problems the movie has with tone, which is in part the director’s fault in the translation process from script to screen, this movie has some serious script issues. The plot is easily to understand and grasp for the audience however there is no flow. It jumps around from different plotlines to other plotlines and things that didn’t need to be there without any proper transition. It jumps from point A to D back to point B then jumps ahead to point E then back to Point A then moving to point B. It’s not a non linear approach, a linear movie that jumps around way too much. The screenplay needed a new set of eyes to restructure this, and cut out some of “the fluff” and other stuff that didn’t need to be there, then this could be more cohesive and enjoyable film.
The movie’s action is however pretty entertaining. Although sometimes a little choppy (you can tell the director use to direct music videos), the hand to hand fight scenes are well done and choreographed. The gun fights are very exciting. The sound department amps the gun sounds up, McG manages to film it in a fast pace and thrilling way, the dramatic action score adds to it. There is a very good car chase in this film where you can clearly see the actors doing the stunts, which makes the scene more tangible and real. This is easily the biggest strength of the movie, when the action is going down, the movie is very fun to watch.
The acting is solid for the most part. Kevin Costner is giving all the effort he has got, and you can tell he has fun in the role as Ethan. He is badass when he needs to be he is tender and caring when the scene calls for it, Costner is very good. Amber Herd plays the agent that gives Ethan the experimental drug, and she was quite honestly very lackluster, pretty wooden and generic. Hallie Steinfield, the young women who wowed us all in “True Grit” delivers a fine performance if not otherwise one of her more memorable ones.
Luc Benson, the writer/producer behind the highly successful “Taken” film, tries to replicate, the older man action hero success however not to nearly the same success. Mcg once again fails in delieving an all around solid film, Costner does however give it his all, but a few thrilling action sequences can’t make up for the rest of the poorly written script and repetitive hit and miss humor. “3 Days to Kill” doesn’t quite hit it’s mark.