3 Days to Kill flounders with it's identity

He has a very particular set of skills. Skills he’s acquired over a very long career. Sound familiar? 3 Days to Kill aspires to be Taken, but with a dash of family conflict, and a heap of love story, turning this action thriller into a mess of epic half-baked proportions. It isn’t horrible, it certainly has its shining moments, but it could have and should have been much better, especially with this caliber of casting.

After a mission goes horribly array, Ethan Renner (Kevin Costner) is discharged because they find the annoying little cough he’s been suffering from is actually something much bigger, he’s terminally ill. He’s given his life to the CIA and now he’s out, so he returns home in Paris to spend his last few months hoping to reconnect with the wife and daughter he hasn’t seen in ten years, but it isn’t quite that easy. In his home he finds a family of squatters, that he can’t evict due to Parisian law. His wife Christine (Connie Nielsen) wants to protect daughter Zoey (Hailee Steinfield) from the father who all but abandoned her until she learns of his illness. And, daughter Zoey, even with Christine’s small push isn’t ready to rekindle any relationships.

Enter in Vivi (Amber Heard). She starts the movie off as a plain jane, no nonsense agent. She’s the CIA’s secret weapon. During Ethan’s earlier botched mission to take out the Albino, she was told to stand back and take out the bigger fish the Wolf. She shows up after a She’s All That makeover, all vixen-fied, watching from afar as things go bad, buildings go boom, and the bad guys get away. She follows Ethan to Paris, seeing him as her weapon to take out the Wolf, and she’s willing to trade his skills for an experimental drug that will extend his life.

Even though Ethan promised Christine he was out of the business, he accepts Vivi’s offer and trades kills for drugs. There’s plenty of playful banter between the two of them, but as Vivi’s look gets slutter, the dialogue gets cheesier.

Ethan falls into more luck when Christine has to go out of town for a few days, and leaves Ethan in charge of his daughter. Ethan divides his time between torturing and killing and trying to deal with a teenage daughter he still sees as a little girl.

The action fails to be as intense as it should be, I was expecting far more. There’s an element of danger that’s lacking, and Ethan’s illness is used far too many times, making the movie overly predictable.  Vivi's only job seems to be to look hot, which Heard does well, but for being at the top of the CIA food chain, and capable of having no conscious, she really serves no purpose other than to be screen candy. 

The chemistry between Costner and Steinfield is great, but the Steinfield’s Zoey’s turbulent moods not only slow down the movie, but take it in different directions far too often. So she has daddy issues, and she never learned to ride a bike. So what. It's hard to identify or feel sympathy for the character because she's a total brat. Steinfield is talented, its easy to see with the easy rapport she establishes with Costner, but if not for the laughs that her character inadvertently generates she'd be far less likeable, and the little Bodyguard moment was a nice nod to Costner's past was a nice touch as well.

3 Days To Kill struggles with its own identity, never finding solid ground. What could have been great action thriller, or redemption movie, or heck even a love story never quite becomes any of the above.

3 Days To Kill opens in theaters February 21st.


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