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Costner steps up but can't save '3 Days to Kill'

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3 Days to Kill

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It’s hard not to root for our favorite actors of yesteryear. Some come out of retirement for the occasional job (ala Jack Nicolson), others continue to work and find themselves experiencing a career renaissance (Liam Neeson, Robert Downey Jr.), and a separate group simply continue to appear in the type of roles that made them famous (mostly direct-to-video stuff). Kevin Costner may not fall in to any of the aforementioned categories, but with his second of his 3 films this year, he seems to be gunning for the wheelhouse that made him a marque name.

Costner leads “3 Days to Kill,” a spy thriller set in Paris. Upon forced retirement due to a terminal disease, ex-operative Ethan returns to France where his estranged wife and daughter reside (Connie Nielsen and Hailee Steinfeld). Rather than seeking sympathy, Ethan aims to rebuild the damaged relationship he has with them. But his last job put him in a position to identify a known terrorist, putting him right back in the mix. In exchange for his reluctant services, Ethan is also given an experimental drug that could keep his ailment at bay. With the help of an (intentionally?) mysterious handler named Vivi (Amber Heard), Ethan tries to juggle creating a life with his family while finishing his past life permanently.

Seeing Costner on the big screen is a treat, even if the role seems like a dud. The script is so plothole ridden and lazy that the film seems to cut corners to piece it all together as it goes. The entire existence of Amber Heard, once again doing little more than being eye candy, is a wash. Her entire character appears created merely to give Ethan more time to focus on his family and backstory.

The film is peppered with humor, most of which fall flat. The running ringtone gag is funny at first but quickly becomes too convenient. From Luc Besson, the mastermind behind “Leon: The Professional,” he seems to have created his weakest story outside of “From Paris with Love.” This sad realization only makes the film unbearable. Costner and Besson have each done great work in the past, but “3 Days to Kill” is a brainless film that director McG seems ok with. As much as this had the potential to be a guilty pleasure, let this one go by. 1.5 out of 5 stars

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