It’s taken me three days to write this review.  Scratch that, it has taken me about a week to write this review.  Not that this is a challenging movie to understand, it has just taken a lot to actually sit down to write about what I had seen.  3 Days to Kill is directed by McG (Charlies Angles), with a script by Luc Bessen (Taken) and Kevin Costner in the lead role. Kevin Costner stars as Ethan Renner, a CIA assassin, who after hearing he has 30 days to live accepts one final assignment with the promise of an experimental drug that could save his life.  Ethan had wanted to retire and spend more time with his ex wife and daughter, who he has ignored and left completely in the dark about his true occupation.  Both his wife and daughter think he’s just a business man, and have no idea he’s a contracted killer for the US government.  After accepting the mission from his consistently wardrobe changing CIA boss Vivi Delay (Amber Heard), Ethan is given the targets he needs to eliminate in order for Vivi to give him the drug that may save his life.  The only problem for Ethan is that while he must kill these targets, he must also look after his teenage daughter while his wife goes out of town.  From there the movie stalls as Costner attempts to channel his inner Liam Neeson, but falls short in both action and comedy, making 3 Days to Kill hard to watch and very dull.

3-days-to-kill-1Unfortunately for 3 Days to Kill, the only aspects of the plot the filmmakers chose to explore in detail was the relationship between Ethan and his daughter Zoey (Hailee Steinfeld).  Only digging into this aspect left out who the people are that he is killing and why, as this is never explained.  This left for a very shallow movie with almost no excitement, as the audience never knows why “The Albino” or “The Wolf” are such dangerous villains.  We are forced to accept these guys are bad without ever being told who they really are or why they are so bad.  Everything with his daughter felt incredibly generic, as the absent father cooks for his daughter, teaches her to ride a bike, and teaches her to dance.  Everything that happened in the film had already been done in a hundred different CIA movies before.

People are willing to see movies based purely on the visual aspects, and don’t always need a deep philosophical message to be interested.  Going into 3 Days to Kill, nobody expects to see an Oscar contender, but they do want to see good action scenes or even a cohesive plot.  The action in 3 Days to Kill is incredibly forgettable, and for a movie like this, it could have been saved with a few cool action scenes.  It also goes back to not really expanding the plot about who the people are that he is killing, and why it even matters.  This makes the action scenes all the less powerful, and even more forgettable.

3_Days_to_KillThe comedy that the movie goes for, as seen in the trailer, is terrible.  Kevin Costner has a ton of one liners that are hard to watch as the film attempts to poke fun at the situation.  We understand pretty quickly that Ethan is a bad father but a “good” man and a skilled assassin.  We are constantly reminded of this throughout the film, with bad joke after bad joke.  Again, if your plot is weak and the action scenes are forgettable, then the comedy has to land in order to save the film.  Nothing from the film is memorable, and it feels like recycled CIA material that is always floating around Hollywood.  Often with a bad movie, you can at least make the recommendation that you will at least have fun watching it, but with 3 Days to Kill that can’t even be said.  I would skip this movie until it at least comes out on a cable channel you already subscribe to, that way you won’t be upset about spending money on this film.  3 Days to Kill makes Taken and even Taken 2 look like genius films, so unless someone else is buying your ticket I would skip this movie altogether.

3 Days to Kill is now playing on Video on Demand (VOD).

About the Author

Peter Towe
Peter Towe
A graduate of UMASS Boston, I have successfully put off getting a "real" job, and continue to watch, produce, review, and obsess over movies. I lived in Boston while I completed my degree, and now live in Chicago trying the improv thing.