3 Days to Kill (2014), Kevin Costner’s latest film, is surprising in many ways. Of course, going into the film, the audience understands that this movie will be a star turn for Costner, harkening back to the successful work he did when he was younger in an effort to rekindle some of that spark. He plays the lead action hero, CIA-officer Ethan Renner. When Ethan discovers he is dying, he makes a last attempt to reconnect with his ex-wife and estranged daughter. Initially, he decides to give up his job and live his remaining days in peace, but he is propositioned by fellow CIA agent Vivi Delay (Amber Heard) to take on one more mission. In exchange, she will give him an experimental drug that may allow him to live longer.
3 Days to Kill is marketed as an action film. However, what is unconventional about the movie is that in every big fight scene, the hero, Ethan, is handicapped. His body starts to break down, he begins to cough, and he collapses to the ground unable to finish the job. In fact, in the ending scene of the film when Ethan has finally come face to face with his enemy, the Wolf (Richard Sammel), the two of them do not get into heavy fight choreography. Instead, the Wolf, having sustained significant injuries from an elevator crash, and Ethan, during a health episode, crawl on the floor towards each other. The audience waits at every moment to see who is going to have the last bit of strength to be the victor in the final moment. Ultimately, it’s neither one.
The other unusual aspect about the film is the heavy use of comedy from start to finish. Though action movies tend to use comedic moments to break up tension, 3 Days to Kill interlaces the funny and heartwarming plot points much more intricately. In fact, the title functions twofold; it references both how long Ethan has to kill the Wolf, but it also references the time he has to spend with his daughter, Zooey Renner (Hailee Steinfeld). Overall, there are plot holes, inconsistencies with the script, and moments that are forced. Yet, with all that being said, the film is entertaining.