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DVD review: 3 Days To Kill: A twisted joke of an action movie

3 Days to Kill


Action movies were once the toast of movie making. The great days of sheer violence and a good shoot em up bang bang seems almost light years ago. What happened when one could just stroll into a theater and see 90+ minutes of sheer violence with a little story eloquently interwoven so that we get just what we needed to satisfy our fix for a fight?
3 Days to Kill is a tedious, begrudging chore of viewing that completely mutilates what an action movie should be. It is yet another testament to the sad state of the action movie genre. This is one of the more recent films that show how far the once prominent genre has become a joke to many and how far the once great genre has fallen off. The movie stars Kevin Costner (Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit), Haliee Steinfeld (Enders Game), Amber Heard (Paranoia), Connie Neilsen (Perfect Sense), Tomas Lemarquis (Snowpiercer), and Richard Sammel (Casino Royale).
Synopsis: “A dying CIA agent trying to reconnect with his estranged daughter is offered an experimental drug that could save his life in exchange for one last assignment.” (
This calamity starts with a great promise; a good premise, a good opening scene, and a good cast that offers a lot of potential. Somewhere after the first action sequence, all of those positive aspects are quickly squandered and the movie begins to spiral downwards into the dismal abyss of disappointment. Nearly 30 minutes in and the movie begins to settle in the shape of what it truly is; the new age action movies where it attempts to humanize our larger than life killers. 3 Days to kill becomes much like The American, Columbiana, and Drive, however, it isn’t as entertaining as the worse of those. At some point in time, this actually worked. Films like Commando and Rambo pulled this off successfully. Schwarzenegger’s John Matrx (Commando) and Stallone’s Rambo both are great examples of how this can effectively pulled off. The new films tend to try to focus too much on the humanizing and not enough on the action. They focus so much on attempting to make this character a person that they forget that we want him to be larger than life and unbelievable in many ways. 3 Days To Kill does just that. 3 Days To Kill humanizes Renner so much that we forget to cheer for him. It forces the larger than life aspects to be ignored; therein making the action aspects of the film less believable and even less plausible.
The story is extremely slow moving. While it has brief glimpses of the promise that it exhibited, it is quickly wasted shortly thereafter. The main focus of the story is attempting to reconnect with his daughter is nearly nauseating. The way the relationship is introduced is good and adds to the character as well as giving you something to care for. The flashbacks of the young Zooey are well placed however, once the two meet, it become the stereotypical absentee father/daughter relationship and not long after completely implausible. The constant flip flopping between the action aspect of the film and the aspects of attempting play the father role is nauseating. The movie focuses too much on Ethan’s attempts to rebuild the connection with his daughter. This aspect of the film is very “Man on
Costner’s character Ethan Renner has a number of flaws that make him human and very relatable, too relatable. The one characteristic that makes him and this approach to the film is completely overshadowed by the more predictable aspects that are embedded within the character. The absentee father/husband who is seeking acceptance after a long departure is a good theme and very prevalent in modern society. Consequently, it has been played far too often and this time, it’s easily one of the worse.
3 Days To Kill is a joke. It’s a bad punch line at best and a poor excuse for entertainment at the very worse. The film is all over the place and utterly senseless for most of it. The best aspect of it is the subtle dark comedy that it has embedded into it. The film has a number of comedic moments that really offset the other slacking aspects of it. Its comedic moments are timely and well placed. However, it’s not enough of those to warrant the viewing of this hogwash. Bottom line, steer clear. Steer far clear, avoid if you can. This one is just an hour and fifty plus minutes of frustration!