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Killing Time – A review of Three Days to Kill

Updated on February 24, 2014
Kevin Costner is a CIA agent and Amber Heard is his control in the spy thriller Three Days to Kill
Kevin Costner is a CIA agent and Amber Heard is his control in the spy thriller Three Days to Kill

Title: Three Days to Kill

Production Company: Relativity Media

Run Time: 113 minutes

Rated: PG-13

Director: McG

Stars: Kevin Costner, Amber Heard, Hailee Steinfeld, Connie Nielsen

3 stars for Three Days to Kill

Summary: Kevin Costner may not necessarily look like your usual Hollywood action star, but as an aging CIA cleaner with family issues, he’s still the likeable everyman you love to root for.

Okay, this is starting to sound like a trend for Kevin Costner. Earlier this year, he turned up in the new Jack Ryan thriller playing CIA recruiter Thomas Harper.

Now he plays a CIA cleaner named Ethan Renner. When it comes time to take out the bad guys, he’s just the guy to get the job done. Well, at least until they discover he’s got brain cancer and they put him out to pasture.

The trouble with being the best, though, is you can’t stay retired for long. And the promise of an experimental cure for Cancer just might be enough to lure Renner back into the field.

The rub, though, comes into play when Renner tries to reconcile with his ex-wife and estranged daughter. They left him when his work became too all consuming. Now, on death’s doorstep, he wants the chance to make up for some of the lost time.

Why is it that, in Hollywood, it’s always possible to forgive and forget? And isn’t it clichéd and premature for people to believe that a thirty year career can come to a halt on a dime?

I could pick this movie apart all day long. The dialogue and the acting are both clichéd and ripped from scenes and pages of better movies and scripts that came before this one.

Right from the opening scenes which almost felt like a groaner of gross magnitude, Renner’s control, Vivi, meets with her bosses for her new assignment. I could almost hear the tape – “Your mission, should you decide to accept it…”

And then there’s the scene where Renner shows us what he’s capable of. I could almost hear the squeaks, groans and cracks of Costner’s bones as he flips, shoots and tussles with opponents who are half his age.

And one has to love the scene where he argues with his boss over the configurations of facial hair. He’s right, by the way. The bad guy is wearing a goatee, not simply a moustache.

Of course much is done for fun. Absolutely, there have to be lighter moments or else this movie wouldn’t be any different than a bad Stallone or Statham movie – all action, no plot.

The real charm of this picture, though, are the interactions between Costner and his daughter, played by young up and comer Hailee Steinfeld, who is fast making a name for herself in the cutthroat avenues of Tinseltown.

Steinfeld, who appeared in the critically well received re-make of True Grit and last year’s Ender’s Game, has just the right mix of respect and sass for her old man. Plus the running gag with the bike will keep heads nodding and chuckling in quiet agreement with the younger Renner.

The less believable interaction comes between Renner and his estranged wife (Connie Nielsen) who seems to fall for him far too quickly for a woman who left for reasons that, at the time, made sense to her. Yet she seems to be falling for him again for all the same wrong reasons.

Don’t get me wrong, though. The film is nothing short of being entertaining in its own right, albeit that too may be for all the wrong reasons.

The film takes place in Paris and all of the supporting roles are played by natives of that country. It seems relatively evident that the actors have strong disdain for Americans in general and perhaps for the movie going public as well.

There is a twist to the picture that could have played a bigger part and the wrap up of that twist is anything short of perfect. It does, however, leave room for a potential sequel if Costner and company are so inclined.

McG’s directing is also strictly by the numbers. His previous credits, which include both Charlie’s Angels movies and This Means War prepared him well for this addition to his IMDB credit list.

This may not win any awards and may not hold up for repeat viewing, but Three Days to Kill still makes for two hours of killed time if you happen to have it to spare. I give the movie 3-1/2 out of 5 stars.

Is Kevin Costner still a believable action star?

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