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Review: ‘Three Days to Kill’ feels like three days of unexceptional action

How far would you go to control your fate?

Kevin Costner hits the big screen in “3 Days to Kill,” a mediocre action flick that features less-than anticipated suspense. The spy thriller was released Friday and was categorized as an action-crime-drama – might I add – in disastrous fashion.

Costner plays Ethan, a former CIA agent who learns that he has a terminal condition. Vivi, played by Amber Heard, promises Costner’s character an experimental drug that could save his life, but only under one condition: he must assassinate two European arms dealers.

Along his journey, Costner attempts to repair relationships with his wife, played by Connie Nielsen and estranged daughter, played by Hailee Steinfeld, in case the experimental drug turns out to be less than he hoped.

Directed by McG, who is known for producing shows such as “Supernatural,” “Chuck” and “The O.C.,” the dragged-out plot seemed like a try-hard remake of Pierre Morel’s “Taken” from 2008. The film started off strong and continued to disappoint as the plot developed and then disseminated in too many directions. I found Costner’s character trying too hard to be a kick-ass hero, and then distracting himself with personal endeavors and arrogance that destroyed his ambition.

According to Brett Malec, writer for E! News Online, I’m not the only viewer who thought so. Malec turned to reputable critics, who all expressed some level of disappointment in the “thriller.”

MCT Photo Kevin Costner, from left, Connie Nielsen and Hailee Steinfeld star in “3 Days to Kill.”

MCT Photo
Kevin Costner, from left, Connie Nielsen and Hailee Steinfeld star in “3 Days to Kill.”

Malec stated, “Joe Neumaier from the New York Daily News cuts right to the chase. He writes, “Let’s say you’re Kevin Costner, icon of the 1980s, Academy Award-winning director, a guy people were glad to see again in ‘Man of Steel,’ ‘Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit’ and on the TV miniseries ‘Hatfields & McCoys.’ What should you avoid as you continue your comeback? Half-baked action flicks like ‘3 Days to Kill.’” Ouch!”

Malec addresses a critical piece written by Todd Gilchrist of The Wrap who said, “Ultimately, “3 Days to Kill” is almost crazy enough to be appealing as camp, and certainly has enough left fielded one-liners to keep midnight moviegoers shouting dialogue for years; but as anything remotely serious or engaging, the only thing the movie actually kills is the time and money you spent watching it.”

If the plot covered the one issue in serious detail, rather than tid-bits of a family reconciliation, spy mission and fatal medical condition in a wannabe comedy, the film could have showed potential.

Variety’s Geoff Berkshire said, “Although the film’s tech package is reliably proficient, one would have hoped for more onscreen fireworks from the union of ultra-American McG and Costner with French mainstay Besson. Alas, this European vacation is a time-killer of the most mundane variety.”

Betsy Sharkey of the Los Angeles Times neither loved nor hated the film, but agreed that the competing plot lines were poorly put together.

“How to balance a father-daughter reconciliation story with a spy thriller with a life-and-death medical crisis, with a farce? This is where the film’s many fraying edges are exposed.”

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