Tuesday, 24 June 2014



Well, it's not the worst McG film ever made, but that's pretty much all it's got going for it. It's better than the second Charlie's Angels film (I actually quite liked the first one as a completely empty piece of idiotic whizzbang fluff but it was an idea that [1] ran out of steam very quickly and [2] was frankly better done in the ridiculous DOA: Dead Or Alive), and it's certainly better that the despicable This Means War, but when a director's best film is Terminator: Salvation, things ain't going well. On the other hand, in the pantheon of Luc Besson's thuddingly silly but glossy Eurothrillers it's easily the least of the bunch, beating even the likes of Colombiana and From Paris With Love and clearly never coming within a parsec of The Transporter.

In 3 Days To Kill, Kevin Costner is a veteran CIA agent who fails to catch international terrorists The Wolf and The Albino on account of his terminal brain tumour. Seeking to set his affairs in order and reconnect with the wife and daughter (Connie Neilsen, Hailee Steinfeld) who he neglected in favour of his spying career, he's recruited by ssssmokin' agent Amber Heard (in a variety of wigs and sexy outfits) to track down the bad guys and execute them in return for an experimental drug that might save his life, or at least give him some family time. In order to take down The Wolf and The Albino he has to find The Accountant, by first contacting the man who provides the limo service - in short, a series of videogame levels Costner must get through in order to finally confront the main villain....

You can't accuse the film of being short on incident: Costner also has to beat up an incompetent assassin in a boulangerie, duff up the four youths molesting his daughter in a nightclub toilet, teach his daughter to ride a bicycle, AND help out the African immigrant family squatting in his flat, all while suffering from mild hallucinations caused by the wonder drug. There's torture, knockabout comedy, an entirely gratuitous scene in a strip club (where the demands of a PG13 rating have forced them to add smoke in front of the naked girls so you can't see anything), a decent enough car chase, and lots of people bloodlessly killed.

It's an awkward sub-True Lies mix of domestic sitcom and action thriller, which culminates in a desperately shoddy bit of screenwriting with a ludicrously contrived coincidence that needs to happen so the film can end but makes little or no sense as a logical plot development - out of the two million people in Paris, the boyfriend's dad's business partner just happens to be the one bloke Costner's on the hunt for. But the fact is that the comedy isn't nearly funny enough (the main joke being the conflict between Costner's family and his secret spy job), and the teen-friendly certificate means the violence isn't allowed to have much oomph behind it. 3 Days To Kill is mostly terrible, but it's not terrible enough to get angry with, just terrible enough to be unimpressed with. Plus it doesn't have nearly enough Amber Heard in it.


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