Every once in a while there comes along an action film that checks all the boxes for being the perfect entertainer. It has drama, comic relief, a ruthless antagonist and of course, stellar action scenes. In case you were wondering, 3 Days to Kill is not one of those films.
3 Days to Kill chronicles CIA agent – Ethan Renner’s (Kevin Costner) attempts to reconnect with his daughter after he is diagnosed with cancer. Soon after, Renner is offered an experimental drug that might just save his life. However, this drug comes at a hefty price. In order to receive it from Vivi Delay (Amber Heard), he must fulfill one last assignment. The movie follows Renner’s attempts to spend time with his daughter, while also fulfilling his task.
3 Days to Kill is a surprisingly uneventful film. Even though so much happens in the movie, it feels as if nothing really happens. Throughout the film, you get the impression that it is struggling to find itself. Is it a drama? Is it a comedy? Or is it an action film?
Another drawback of the movie is its lack of simplicity. Though complicated plots can be a lot of fun, 3 Days to Kill goes overboard with the sub-plots. The movie tries to incorporate as many elements as possible. However, it ends up over-complicating the plot so much that it’s no longer comprehensible or interesting.
Ethan Renner meets many people in his pursuit of ‘The Wolf’. Though, some of these characters have the potential to be interesting, none of them are fleshed out enough to reach this potential. On the other hand, we barely see a glimpse of The Wolf, who is the "Big Baddie" of the film. When he finally does make an appearance, he fails to evoke any emotion whatsoever.
For the most part, the individual performances in the movie are good. Hailee Steinfeld, who plays Renner’s daughter, is convincing in her portrayal of the angsty teenager. Kevin Costner‘s performance as a dying CIA agent is also noteworthy. To add to this, the supporting cast members (including Connie Nielsen, Eriq Ebouaney and Marc Andréoni) deliver strong performances too. However, Amber Heard fails in her portrayal of Vivi Delay, the beautiful and heartless CIA agent. Though she has the beautiful part down pat, her version of cold and heartless just comes off as an inability to act.
Don’t write 3 Days to Kill off just yet, as the movie does have its moments. Unsurprisingly, the interactions between Ethan and Zoey Renner constitute a majority of these moments. The dynamic between Steinfeld and Costner is remarkable and keeps the movie afloat. In fact, their scenes together also provides some much-needed comic relief, in an otherwise boring movie.
Why should you watch this film?
If, for some reason, you like action movies that aren’t too violent, you might enjoy 3 Days to Kill. Additionally, the dynamics between Steinfeld and Costner makes parts of the movie sweet and amusing. If you’re a fan of either, you might want to check out the movie – if only for their performances.