Comedy and action are often paired together in an effort to create a highly entertaining, mass appeal piece of entertainment. The result is often a broadly comedic film with some casual gun violence and some cheeky one-liners. Director McG and screenwriter Luc Besson have taken this formula and tossed in an unhealthy dose of family melodrama in order to create the massively uneven 3 Days To Kill.
The film follows an on-the-edge of retirement CIA operative named Ethan (Kevin Costner) as he discovers that he has a strange form of Cancer that will kill him in just under three months. Ethan makes his peace with not being able to see his next Christmas, a plot point that was apparently meant to be important, but thanks to some sloppy storytelling this isn’t apparent. At all. Ethan immediately retires from the CIA and moves to Paris where he plans to reconcile with his estranged wife and daughter (Hailey Steinfeld). Upon his arrival Ethan discovers that a family of immigrant squatters have taken over his apartment, and his wife and daughter aren’t terribly excited to see him. He is forlorn and he promises his wife that he’s done forever with the CIA. He wants to spend his final days with his family.
However, when Ethan is also approached by a super sexy secret agent (Amber Heard) to take on one last job before he dies, he reconsiders. The payment for this final job is a considerable sum of money as well as an experimental drug (which is never given a name) that will effectively cure his Cancer and allow him to live a full and happy life. Of course he takes the job. The rest of the film unfolds a series of madcap adventures involving Ethan and his daughter bonding, Ethan and his daughter fighting, Ethan and his daughter laughing, and Ethan shooting and torturing a series of stereotypes.
The film isn’t a total waste of time. Kevin Costner is actually fairly good in the lead role despite a terribly superficial screenplay. While he is called upon to be a blue-collar assassin with a perpetual case of the sniffles, he does manage to bring a fair amount of experience and intimidation to his role.
The plot points throughout the film are dull, contrived and totally cliché. The humour is shoehorned in and so obvious that it really isn’t funny. All of the supporting characters and scenarios fall flat and most are totally forgettable. The pacing of the film is horrendous and it feels like an odyssey to get from point A to point B.
McG must have a had some wardrobe leftovers from his time with Charlie’s Angels as Amber Heard continuously shows up in sexy leather outfits in some kind of attempt to give her painfully dull character some dimension.