“3 Days to Kill” has the feeling of being made by filmmakers who remember what it’s like to have fun watching a movie. It may have its share of problems, but when you can just sit back and enjoy yourself for a couple of hours, they seem negligible compared to the entertainment you get out of such a project. The plot is nothing particularly special: It concerns a recently retired CIA agent, Ethan (Kevin Costner), who goes to Paris to reconnect with his wife, Christine (Connie Nielsen), and daughter, Zooey (Hailee Steinfeld), only to get called back into action by another agent, Vivi (Amber Heard), who offers him a potential cure for the cancer that is killing him. His mission is to track down a man known as “The Wolf,” who is responsible for selling nuclear material to terrorists around the world. However, to get to him, he’ll first have to find his right-hand man, someone he nearly caught on his previous mission.
Here we have a film that is a bizarre mixture of action, drama, comedy, and even a little romance, all laid out in a two-hour mishmash, and yet it works surprisingly well. However, as I said, it’s not without its problems. There wasn’t really any need for the film to be two hours, which is a common issue with action movies. There were portions that could have easily been trimmed to make it flow a little better, including a little subplot involving squatters in Ethan’s Paris apartment that goes nowhere. You would think that the remaining stories (Ethan trying to hunt down The Wolf and trying to reconnect with his family) wouldn’t go together very well, but screenwriters Adi Hasak and Luc Besson have put them together pretty smoothly, making sure that one doesn’t interfere with the other. Striking that balance is a very hard thing to do, which makes it a somewhat impressive accomplishment, particularly when you’re dealing with the action genre.
The other main reason that the film works pretty well is that there’s hardly a dull moment in it. From the myriad of action sequences to the personal family moments, it remains an entertaining story with several comedic moments thrown in to help it from becoming too serious. It may not be particularly great or even memorable, but it’s a fun, action-packed romp that has a little heart to it, and for that, it’s worth the two hours.
“3 Days to Kill” is presented in a 2.40:1, 1080p High Definition transfer of outstanding quality. The picture remains beautifully sharp throughout the two-hour runtime with no signs of fuzziness to be found. The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio is loud and clear, allowing you to hear every gunshot and explosion in perfect clarity. In addition, dialogue is easily audible, which is particularly helpful given that Costner uses a much more rough voice than he usually does. Overall, there are no problems to report in either department.
The Making of 3 Days to Kill: A short, ten-minute featurette that features interviews with the cast and crew as they discuss the making of the film. It’s primarily made up of short clips of the interviews and it doesn’t go into much depth, so it’s not particularly worth watching.
McG’s Method: A very short featurette that features the cast and crew discussing what it was like to work with the director, in addition to an interview with McG about what it was like to work in France. This is another superficial featurette that doesn’t tell you very much, so it’s another one that’s not really worth the time.
Covert Operation: A brief interview with a former CIA agent who tells us what it was like to be a part of the organization. He tells us things that most people already know (“It’s hard to be an agent and have a family,” “You have to lie a lot,” etc.”) so, sadly, it makes for yet another featurette that just isn’t worth watching.
“3 Days to Kill” is a successful blend of several genres, mixing them together in such a way so that none of them become overpowering. It’s rare to find a film like this where you can just sit back and be entertained for a couple of hours while being able to shrug off the few issues that the movie has. It’s silly, over-the-top, and completely unbelievable at times, but it’s a lot of fun, which is something that can make all the difference in a film like this.
Available on Blu-ray and DVD starting tomorrow.
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