Sunday, June 29, 2014

Review 275: "3 Days to Kill"

But no days until midlife crisis!

3 Days to Plot

      3 Days to Kill is a 2014 action thriller that was released on the same day as Pompeii. Geez, what a great double feature that would've been. The film is directed by McG (Terminator Salvation) and written by Adi Hasak (From Paris With Love) and Luc Besson (Taken). The film follows Ethan Renner (Kevin Costner), a CIA spy who discovers he has a terminal illness and decides to spend the last of his days with his estranged wife (Connie Nielsen) and daughter (Hailee Steinfeld). However, a mysterious CIA agent (Amber Heard) telling him that he can have a cure for his illness as long as he completes one last mission. Bet that works out well...

Someone's going to get iced. Get it?
3 Days to Suck

      It's hard to know what went wrong with 3 Days to Kill. I mean, it all started out alright. Costner is pretty good in the lead role, hell, pretty much everyone in this film is pretty good. The first 20 minutes or so are actually pretty decent. Some competent, albeit nothing special and the direction is fine. For a second, I was getting into the story. And then... something happened. I can't say exactly what occurred behind the scenes, but something must have because the rest of 3 Days to Kill feels like a completely different film than the first 20 minutes. And unfortunately, this film is f*cking terrible. 3 Days to Kill almost comes off as a parody of the action movie genre. Essentially, this is Taken, but taken to the logical extreme. Yeah, bet you thought that was, you know, Taken 2's job, but nope, it gets worse than that. Yikers. The film could have been pretty simple. The story of a former spy going on one last mission to get a miracle cure isn't really new, but it works. But instead, the film overcomplicates things with some incredibly ludicrous plot turns. That title isn't a joke either. Costner, after working his mission for several days, sudden;y is told he has only 3 more days left to complete it in the most blatantly obvious bit of stakes raising I've seen in a while.

3 Days to Crisis

      Though maybe this all stems from the film's seemingly having a midlife crisis. It starts out normal, and suddenly the film becomes obsessed with being "kewl". I mean, all the stupid as F*ck plot twists are all directly from other, better action movies. McG suddenly adopts the hype edited action scenes of the Bourne films partway through. This can be worst seen in Amber Heard's character. She's introduced right at the beginning in a CIA meeting and she seems like a completely normal CIA agent on a mission. When she re-introduced about a half-hour later, suddenly she's the ultra-"sexy" seductive spy with a thing for Costner. Her major personality change is never explained. I mean, nothing about the CIA recruiting Costner with the cure for this mission makes any sense, especially the parts where they apparently gave Heard a closet full of lather clothes and a strip club to run (No, I'm not kidding). Even worse is that these scenes are intercut with awfully shmaltzy scenes with Costner and his daughter. 
      Despite not even remotely fitting in with the tone of the rest of the movie, the scenes get a huge amount of screentime. Hell, the story of the CIA mission comes to a screeching halt for nearly 30 FREAKING MINUTES as Costner learns his daughter lied to him, saves her from getting date raped and teaches her how to ride a bike. And yes, it's handled that awkwardly. Plus, as a nice little bonus, the film has a terrible sense of humor. Making the film's tone even more confused, the film's humor is best described as dad jokes left and right. At one point, Costner and Heard argue about whether a dead guy has a beard or a goatee. And the dialogue is almost entirely; "it's a goatee. No, it's a beard. No, it's a goatee. No, it's a beard. Have you ever seen a beard?" UGH.

Try hard.
3 Days to Verdict

      3 Days to Kill is easily one of the dumbest action movie in recent memory that didn't come out direct-to-DVD. The film starts fine, but suddenly becomes cool-obsessed. The film soon developed an embarrassingly overdone plot that's filled with cliches that are inserted ham-fistedly into the narrative. Heard is made into this "sexy" character with no rhyme or reason as to why, other than it's "cool". The film's sense of humor is as lame as it gets. And the whole thing is capped by a truly awful family story that brings the film to a dead stop whenever it's onscreen. Which is half the running time. 3 Days to Kill gets 1 and a half stars out of 6.

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