Movie Review: 3 Days to Kill (2013)



Abort and off the grid was the standard protocol for its agents if a CIA’s special operation failed, so I thought. Not really in this case, after the mission was compromised, agents leaped out of their supposingly clandestine van, and start shooting at the bad guys, and vice versa, and suddenly the hotel upper level got blown up… it sure looked spectacular, but it was against any common sense of a covert operation, especially on foreign soil. Director McG of Charlie Angel’s fame seemed to care more of the bombing sequence than reality: abort and run, don’t leave any trace… After the bomb exploded and all other intelligent colleagues were killed, Ethan Renner(Kevin Costner), CIA agent fell at the hotel’s entrance, we were made to believe cause he took too much cough syrup. Later, in hospital, it was confirmed to be cancer, and he had about three months left to live. He wanted to rekindle  his estranged relationship with his daughter, Zooey Renner(Hailee Steinfeld). 

I think writer Luc Besson is running out of ideas. At least his Lucy(2014) was interesting and original in concept as a fantasy thriller. 3 Days to Kill (2014) , if I must label it, was actions, connerie, and family drama (stupid jokes). In other words, oil mixed with water.

Most of the time, I didn’t know if Costner was playing a serious CIA? being emotional as a father? or being a prankster? Steinfeld was the stereotypical where-have-you-been-I-am-all-grown-up daughter, the usual  push, pull, acquiesce and conquer.

Since this was written by Besson, obviously he would script the location in Paris, in fact, most of his directed or written films were. Another standard element of his films was car chases on narrow streets in Paris…the turn-around at Arc de Triomphe, la Tour Effiel… Paris has been used in so many films that I think anyone making future spy or actions thriller movies should really pick another location: sick and tired.

Besson’s femme fatale ( he always has at least one) this time was Vivi Delay(Amber Heard). Honestly, she was nothing but some chick wearing tight outfits, covered her eyes with Chanel sun-glasses, and drove a shiny fast car. The only thing relevant that she did was blackmailing Ethan to take an experimental drug to prolong his life, so that he could track down a killer, the Wolf, and put a bullet in his head, then he will be able to spend more times with his daughter. But Vivi seemed very capable to have done it herself, she didn’t look anything like  a “desk-jockey” (using a term in Vince Flynn’s novel: paper pushing bureaucrat), so what was the reason using, Ethan, a guy who was about to die? 

Costner is definitely coming out of his retirement, cause he seems to be in a lot of the latest movies. But I thought this type of role has already been monopolized by Liam Neeson, and he has pretty good records to show. So is Costner trying taking a spread out of Nesson’s pie? Guess we will see.

I use to like things from Besson, especially The Fifth Element(1997), which was fun and original. After watching 3 Days to Kill(2014)The Family (2013), and Lucy (2014)I am not sure I will be as enthusiastic as before.

SKIP…mashed potatoes with lot of stuff in it, ruining an otherwise simple delicious dish.


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