Not an Oscar-worthy masterpiece, '3 Days to Kill' still amusing
Producer McG ("We Are Marshall," "Terminator: Salvation," "Charlie's Angels" movies), has once again decided to dabble in directing, this time with an action flick called "3 Days to Kill."
It is based on a story by the wonderful French screenwriter Luc Besson ("Leon: The Professional," "Taken," "La Femme Nikita"), and could actually be described as "Taken" with a sense of humor.
It's not a comedy, by any means, but at times it doesn't take itself seriously. Not all of the time, just in spurts. And I liked that about it. McG makes you flow along with a serious "Shoot 'em Up," then slides in a humorous scene, or to be more exact, a humorous moment to a scene.
This type of filmmaking works well with the cast, beginning with a Kevin Costner ("The Postman," "The Untouchables," "Dances with Wolves") who seems to remember his humorous co-starring role in "Silverado."
As veteran secret agent Ethan Renner, Costner is ready to hang up his cloak and dagger, and to spend more time with his estranged family, only to be pulled back into the game.
His family is first and foremost his daughter, Zoey, played by the beautiful young Hailee Steinfeld ("True Grit," "Ender's Game," "Romeo & Juliet"). She is perfectly cast as a child who has gotten over her "never home" father, and moved on with her ordinary teenage life (albeit in Paris, where French writer Besson naturally inserted them).
Along with a stunningly gorgeous Connie Neilsen ("Gladiator," "Basic," "Law & Order: SVU") as her mother, Christine, Zoey has come to terms with the fact that Dad is gone and it's just her and Mom.
Then Ethan shows back up, claiming to be ready to settle down and make things up to them both.
Naturally (this being a movie), up pops a situation that can only be handled by the veteran agent Renner.
Delivering the bad news, and also supervising the mission, is eye candy Amber Heard ("Drive Angry," "The Playboy Club," "Zombieland") making the most delicious fun of her persona as ViVi Delay.
Not since the days of the classic Super Sensuous Mata Hari Sexpots like Natasha Badanov and "Terry & the Pirates" femme fatale The Dragon Lady has anyone defined the sexy killer babe like Heard does in this movie.
And she definitely seems to be having fun with it.
Meanwhile, on the second tier, Icelandic actor Tomas Lemarquis ("Snowpiercer," "Noi the Albino") steals the show as the albino henchman for the head bad guy.
With a spooky bald headed gaze, reminiscent of Timothy Olyphant in "Hitman," Lemarquis plays it great, not with venomous evil, but with an intense look of hatred for his adversary.
The action shots are typical street scenes of fast driving through European cities, much like the shots in the "Bourne" movies, "Taken" and several Tom Clancy based films.
There are fight scenes that, as always, portray the 50-something good guy with beautiful teeth and no facial scars beating the heck out of multiple tough-looking, younger thugs as though they had orders to be beaten.
Ah, yes, Hollywood...
The bulk of the movie, though, is about the relationship between Ethan and his daughter. It is like a longer version of that awkward moment when Tony Soprano and HIS daughter came to terms with what Daddy does for a living, although in "3 Days..." it is never revealed to her that he is a spy.
The scenes with Ethan, Zoey and the bicycle are wonderful to watch, without being syrupy sweet. As with the scenes between Ethan and the squatters in his apartment, there is just enough emotion shown, before a whiff of humor is inserted to break up the "Kodak" moment.
I can recommend this movie, not as an Oscar-worthy masterpiece, but as a movie that will amuse you for the time spent watching it.
Billy Summers is a freelance photographer who also reviews films for the Putnam Herald. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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