A Tale of Two Hacks Continued – 3 Days to Kill

Not only did I sit through Pompeii but I also watched 3 Days to Kill

3 Days to Kill

 

3 Days to Kill (2014) – Rated PG-13

A dying CIA agent trying to reconnect with his estranged daughter is offered an experimental drug that could save his life in exchange for one last assignment.

One Line Review: 3 Days to Kill is half a week too much.

Yesterday I picked on Paul W.S. Anderson. Today is McG’s turn. McG, with his pretentious moniker, fit right in with the world of music videos. He then made the reboot of Charlie’s Angels, which was way better than it had any right to be. Fetishistic in a good way, it featured Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, and Lucy Liu as the adorable, butt-kicking leads. Scenes were constantly stolen from them due to a wonderfully extensive cast of villains and sidekicks (Bill Murray, Sam Rockwell, Tim Curry, Kelly Lynch, Crispin Glover, Matt LeBlanc, and Luke Wilson). Heck even LL Cool J and Tom Green were good in their roles.

Unfortunately McG followed this up with the rather dismal Charlie’s Angels 2: Full Throttle, the heavy-handed We Are Marshall, the humorless Terminator Salvation, and the tone-deaf This Means War. I have to think that Charlie’s Angels was a fluke, particularly after 3 Days to Kill.

3 Days to Kill smacks of formula. After watching Liam Neeson kick butt each February for the last few years, we are now trying Kevin Costner as our aging action star. This is not a bad idea but this vehicle certainly is.

3 Days to Kill is churned off the Luc Besson printing press of action movies. Luc Besson wrote and directed some brilliant action movies such as La Femme Nikita, Leon (The Professional), The Transporter, and District B13. Unfortunately he now just mixes and matches action scenes with gaping plotholes and cringeworthy plot devices to produce the next franchise.

La Femme Nikita became Point of No Return became La Femme Nikita (tv series) became Nikita (tv series). Recycled bits ended up in Columbiana. Taken 3 has been announced in spite of Taken 2 being fairly awful. The Transporter 4, 5, and 6 have been announced in addition to a failed TV series based on the property.

3 Days to Kill features that hoary old secret agent/hitman on a final mission. Our agent, Ethan Renner (Kevin Costner), finds out that he has a fatal condition in his brain that has spread to his lungs and that he has mere months to live. This results in Costner giving us cute little coughs throughout the movie – never an actual coughing fit mind you, nor does he resort to the old chestnut of spitting up blood.

There is a hilarious scene early on where McG forgets that Ethan is terminally ill and has him ride all around Paris on a bicycle. Ethan isn’t even winded but god forbid he should take two quick steps toward an enemy and he collapses.

Ethan is given the opportunity of an experimental drug to treat this condition if he finishes his mission. The experimental drug is delivered in a comic, over-sized hypodermic in a large box. When his heart races, the drug causes him to hallucinate (what they actually mean is get woozy but what they say is hallucinate). To counteract this, he occasionally has to drink vodka. Yes, specifically vodka – no, I am not making this up.

The screenplay thinks it has various interesting things to say about family. This might work if the script weren’t so idiotic. Ethan is either completely ruthless or the softest touch in history swinging from moment to moment on the script. He abducts villains to his house, tortures them lightly, and then releases them from his house yet no one has a clue where he lives.

This stupidity just goes on and on throughout the script. Everything is stretched way too thinly to do any individual subplot any justice. We have Ethan’s wife who teaches him about family as does his daughter as do the squatters in his apartment as do not just one but two different villains. None of this heartfelt, all of it feels cliched except the squatters which feels like Besson read a French news story about them and adapted it.

Costner deserves a better vehicle. You deserve a better film.