3daystokillThe Wry Side Of Life
3 Days To Kill
Stars: Kevin Costner, Hailee Steinfeld, Amber Heard, Connie Nielsen, Richard Sammel, Eriq Ebouaney, Marc Andreoni and Tomas Lemarquis
Director: McG
Scriptwriters: Luc Besson and Adi Hasak
Composer: Guillaume Roussel
Cinematography: Thierry Arbagast
Europa Corporation
Rating: PG 13
Running Length: 1:53 minutes
Kevin Costner has a slightly-awry smile. You never know if he is going to end up with a sneer or a grin. There is a delicious moment in this film when he has been chasing someone and finally catches him. The guy turns around and there is that Costner face with that smile, When the camera comes back to the man, he knows he is fried. Kevin Costner and Liam Neeson are today’s action heroes. Costner can cannonball through a room like Jim Caviesel in television’s “Person of Interest.” There isn't a wall they won't smash, a table that won't turn into kindling wood or an arm or leg that won't eventually angle off on its own. Just doing their job, and here directed by McG with a pounding soundtrack, too.
The story has Costner as Ethan, an agent about to retire as his lingering cough is cancer. He goes to the Paris home of his ex-wife, Christine (Connie Neilsen) and teenage daughter, Zoey (Hailee Steinfeld.) Typical busy and slightly-bitter-about-divorced mother and daughter with plenty of angst. Just when Dad thinks he can make a difference, he is contacted by “the business” for one last hit. They have an experimental drug that may prolong his life for a few months, so he agrees. His handler is played way over the top by an unbelievable Amber Heard who must have studied the current story on television‘s “General Hospital.” Marc Andreoni is the bit of humor as a man connected to the hit and only gives information under torture, then is delivered to his home of wife and teenage daughters as though nothing happened. The villains, Richard Sammel and Tomas Lemarquis, are familiar to audiences, as they usually play these roles, but they seem interesting here when they interplay with Costner. Every shot counts for the hero and the other side can spray a building with bullets and not hit anyone. A running joke is the purple bicycle Ethan buys for his daughter that no one will ride but him and his clothes. He always looks like an unmade bed. The city of Paris, by the way, looks great.
Costner has found a niche here and this type of film, as with Liam Neeson, could go on for years with the proper story. A dying man with a hope of longer life could be a television series, who knows? Costner has just the right weathered face. Not too lean, stubbly, and facial muscles that get taunt when he sees his daughter’s boyfriend. He can switch gears on a dime from caring father to agent on the prowl. Connie Neilsen is just the right ex-wife. Still loves him, but tries hard not to show it. Hailee Steinfeld seems a bit old to play this teenage part, but she interacts with “Mon and Dad” nicely. Marc Andreoni  steals his scenes as the man with information, a wry sense of humor and a wife everyone is afraid of. Car chases are well done (wouldn't be a movie without them) and there are unique ways of disposing of people.
Costner is on to something here and the script doesn't always go with the usual cliches’. Just when you think something might happen (a kidnapping, for example, or robbery) it doesn't and you take a right turn into another situation. “3 Days To Live” isn't perfect, but it does end up on the wry side of life.
Copyright 2014 Marie Asner
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