Kevin Costner has been busy. Last year was Man of Steel, and this year we’ve already seen him in the sub-par Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. This time around, we have Costner in a leading role as an action star. In 3 Days to Kill, Costner plays a dying, badass secret service agent trying to reconnect with his daughter. When he’s forced back into the field by an unusual possibility, all sorts of craziness ensues. Hit the jump to see what I thought of this new action film.
Kevin Costner and I share more than 66.66% percent of a name. We share the same affinity with things “old fashioned”. How does this manifest for an actor? I can only assume that some of Costner‘s greatest roles (including Field of Dreams and Bull Durham) came to life with a sort of charm and belief in basics. Some great scenes here include Costner (and others) listening and dancing to some great music. Many of his roles are almost the same charming blunt instrument with a big heart. This all done with charisma that the great actors of our generation naturally have.
This charisma is really what makes 3 Days To Kill tick. This is really a comedy and family drama masquerading as an action movie. This is perhaps the travesty in how 3 Days has been marketed, since it’s likely that many who would like this movie, probably won’t. The shooting and car chases do occur, but the comedy and family struggles really ground the movie. Costner is great at being the troubled man who missed too much of his daughter’s life and is simply trying to reconnect. If you go into this not taking it too seriously, you’ll probably root for Costner‘s Ethan Renner immediately. There is almost something universal about wanting to return to those we love.
You might be inclined to say this is just Bodyguard in Paris, and the wouldn’t be so far off the mark. But, in some sense this takes many of the good things about that movie and presents it again. If you watch closely, you see Costner do the very same thing he did in Bodyguard carrying the girl out of the club. I had to assume that was a purposeful call-back intended to evoke memories of that movie (for those that remember). Not a bad thing, to be sure.
But, what can I say about the best part of 3 Days? Almost by surprise, this seemingly note-for-note action movie is funny. There are some great lines here, and touching interaction with great co-stars. Costner is naturally the stoic one, but other actors play up that fact and make it really funny, but not stupid funny. One scene where he goes into an auto shop and talks to two french guys had me laughing when they needed to discuss what a “Turd” was. This may be my sensibilities, but having that Icona Pop song interrupt Ethan at some inopportune moments was really fun. Some of this stuff was in the various trailers, but thankfully there are many more of these funny moments. Sure, some of the gags don’t work as well as others. You’ll be groaning about a certain reoccurring purple bike. But, for the most part, the jokes were good bordering on great.
And Amber Heard as a sort of handler, slash femme fatale. She doesn’t do much beyond looking amazing in leather. But, damn, does she look amazing in that skin tight dress, red lipstick and a smoke. Thankfully, Heard is funny in moments, and doesn’t seem to take it too seriously. I was wishing she was this good in Drive Angry. I especially liked Hailee Steinfeld. She did great job of playing the troubled teen, but not coming off like a bitchy brat.
I haven’t really loved any McG directed movie, and this one is a welcome departure. The comedy and setting in Paris definitely make me think Luc Besson had a little more than co-screenwriting influence on this picture. There seemed to be something graceful and patient in the way this movie was shot with Paris in the background. One scene in particular had Renner eating Chinese food with the Eiffel Tower behind him. The shot stays there until the tower sparkles. A nice, understated moment.
There is an impossible and stupid twist near the end, but, this was kind of coming. How they resolved it wasn’t going to make me hate the movie, but it could have been done better. I’ll give it a pass for something probably could have ruined what was wonderful up this point. This isn’t a perfect movie, but I was pleasantly surprised.
3 Days To Kill stars Kevin Costner, Amber Heard, Hailee Steinfeld, and Connie Nielsen, among others. The film opens Friday February 21, 2014.