3 Days to Kill: A fun way to kill an afternoon or evening

Gary Wolcott, atomictown.comFebruary 21, 2014 

Film Review 3 Days To Kill

This image released by Relativity Media shows Kevin Costner in a scene from "3 Days to Kill." (AP Photo/Relativity Media, Julian Torres)


Kevin Costner is Ethan Renner. He's a dying CIA superstar. CIA business took him around the world on dangerous assignments. Ethan chose career over family and eventually became estranged from his wife and daughter.

Knocking on death's door gets Ethan to re-evaluate his life, and now he's desperate to reconnect. Both reluctantly let Ethan back into their lives. Considering a fix with his wife a lost cause, Ethan's focus is a hostile daughter.

As the reconnection takes place, a higher-up CIA operative, the very sleazy and pushy Vivi, pushes Ethan to finish the job he started when his fatal illness struck. And she dangles an experimental potential cure for his disease as an enticement.

So while Ethan manages the delicate balance of bonding with his daughter, he's tasked with tracking down a dangerous international terrorist.

3 Days to Kill is the brainchild of Luc Beeson. He wrote Taken and a bunch of similar films and has made a career of doing spy style movies. Beeson teams with director McG (Terminator Salvation, This Means War) and co-writer Adi Hasak, who wrote the John Tavolta spy action thriller From Paris with Love.

All are skilled artists with the ability to mix action with humor, and this kind of movie always works best with that mix.

Chemistry is another key. Costner clicks with his co-stars. Hailee Steinfeld (Ender's Game, True Grit) plays daughter Zoey, and Connie Nielsen plays the estranged wife. Amber Heard is the near psychopathic CIA boss. They and the fringe players have a lot of fun with their characters, and Costner is the fulcrum that balances them all.

There are several delightful and quite funny scenes with Ethan and members of his targets' team. Another fun bit is a generation gap back-and-forth between Costner and Heard. The laughs are a nice relief from what really is a predictable plot.

Predictable or not, 3 Days to Kill is fun fare for those liking Costner -- who really doesn't do enough movies -- and action spy flicks.

Director: McG

Stars: Kevin Costner, Amber Heard, Hailee Steinfeld, Connie Nielsen

Mr. Movie rating: 3 1/2 stars

Rated PG-13 for mature themes, some violence. It is playing at the Carmike 12, the Fairchild Cinemas 12 and at Walla Walla Grand Cinemas.

5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen

4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.

3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on DVD.

2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.

0 stars: Speaks for itself.

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