Kevin Costner is making a resurgence as of late appearing first in “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit” and now in “3 Days to Kill” and soon to be in “Draft Day.” However, his resurgence actually seems more like a lukewarm return to roles that seem to bore him. Case in point: a government agent/international spy who learns he is dying and wants to reconnect with his teenage daughter (Hailee Steinfeld) and estranged wife (Connie Nielsen) to be the father/husband he could never be before.
The story is tired. And in this movie it is tossed together in a mixed bag of out-of-place subplots that make it feel jumbled, comical (in a bad way) and just too much of a cringeworthy thing. Costner is Ethan Renner, the man who learns he has only months to live and goes back to be with his family, only to be lured in by a CIA operative (Amber Heard) who offers him an experimental drug that will give him a chance to live longer. First, he has to hunt down “The Wolf” in yet another storyline that is underdeveloped and lost between everything else that is going on.
Then, upon his return to France, where his wife and daughter are living, he finds that his rundown bachelor pad has been taken over by a family of friendly squatters who he can’t get to leave based on a weird French law. Then, he tries to make nice with his daughter and buys her a bike which becomes an odd prop that is a mainstay throughout the film. He asks for father advice from the people he is torturing. His ringtone is Icona Pop.
In "3 Days to Kill," Costner is like the wannabe Liam Neeson. The snarly growl, the stoic killer, the absentee dad - check, check, and check. Yet, there is an intensity that Neeson brought to “Taken” and even “Taken 2” that Costner lacks. True, Ethan can’t be quite as nimble as he is dying, but his connection to being a trained killer and his connection to being a family man both seem way off kilter. The movie tries to work both sides, Ethan’s violent job and the pains of fatherhood, into one mess of a drama. No comedy. No...what genre is this film?
In another easy comparison, Heard is like the wannabe Scarlett Johansson, sultry but with a meaner streak. Like Johansson, her looks don’t translate to power or a great demand of the screen. She has a cool aloofness to make it believable that she or her character or both do not care. But, her real-life engagement to Johnny Depp was more titillating than this role.
Final words: So for “that one movie with Kevin Costner where he’s a secret agent," skip it and see something else.