Actors: Kevin Costner, Tomas Lemarquis
Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, AC-3, Color, DTS Surround Sound, Subtitled, Widescreen
Language: English (DTS 5.1)
Subtitles: English, Spanish
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Number of discs: 2
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: May 20, 2014
Run Time: 117 minutes
Watching 3 Days to Kill felt like an oddly unsatisfying rollercoaster experience, jolting back and forth between liking and despising the film for its surprise successes followed by massive failures to follow through. It is easily the most uneven action film of the year, which is remarkably disappointing after an impressive opening sequence that rivals any other part of the film. This introduction to the film was enhanced even further by my low expectations from any film directed by McG. I nearly became convinced that Luc Besson’s contributions to the film via screenplay may be the saving grace of the film, but then the film slipped away from the action and began to feel like an odd cousin to the family dramedy in Besson’s The Family.
Part of the only saving grace in the first half of 3 Days to Kill becomes what ultimately destroys the second half of the film. It is a movie that does not exist in traditional action genre structures, and the story is unpredictable because of this type of bipolar filmmaking. Unfortunately, this is one case where not knowing where the story is going helps to prevent it from becoming dull. The extended cut only highlights the flaws further, dragging out the sequences in the middle of the film attempting to focus on the humor over the action. Star Kevin Costner is actually one of the few things holding the discombobulated mess of this film together, capable of making the comedy work as nonchalantly as he can convincingly kill a man.
Costner is Ethan Renner, a skilled international assassin who discovers that he is dying and decides that he should spend his remaining days attempting to reunite with his wife (Connie Nielson) and teenage daughter (Hailee Steinfeld) living in Paris. His job has always kept him away from his family, a fact which his wife clearly resents, but this appears to be a problem of the past when Ethan is discharged due to his illness. In one of the film’s most schizophrenic and unexplained moments, he is recruited by CIA operative Vivi Delay (Amber Heard) shortly after he is fired. Even odder is the change in her appearance from the first time we see her, as well as an amplified overt sexuality that seems to belong in another film entirely. I can’t understand any of the decisions made for this character, from script to director to actor; nobody did their job right for a character like this to exist.
There is a brief storyline involving a mysterious man whose face only Ethan has seen, but this action is mostly a sub-plot to the struggle of re-establishing a relationship with his daughter. The extended cut includes a bit more of this relationship, which does little to cure the uneven feeling of the film. The theatrical version is also included on the Blu-ray, as well as a DVD and Digital HD copy of the film. The special features are limited to three featurettes, including a generic making-of featurette and an unnecessary look at McG. This film tells you all you need to know about the filmmaker.
Entertainment Value: 7/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 4/10
Historical Significance: 2/10
Special Features: 4/10