Friday, February 21, 2014
3 Days to Kill
Ethan Renner (Kevin Costner), a C.I.A. agent, is the hero in the film who presents in pretty much every scene. At the opening of the film, he kills a room-full of terrorists who tried to buy a dirty bomb from a terrorist called The Wolf (Richard Sammel). But before The Wolf is killed, Ethan collapses and finds out that he has cancer. His future looks bleak because he has about only three months left to live. That prompts him to quit the C.I.A. and to spend more time with his teenage daughter Zooey (Hailee Steinfeld) and his separated wife Christine (Connie Nielsen), both resent Ethan's absence in their lives during the past.
Zooey and Christine live in Paris, for no other reason than the city's scenic view provides a fantastic backdrop in the film. When Ethan comes back to his apartment in Paris, he is surprised that it has been occupied by a refugee family from Africa. A bigger surprise is that the C.I.A. sends him a new boss Vivi Delay (Amber Heard), who dresses like a Barbie doll and kills mercilessly. Vivi offers Ethan an experiment drug that can prolong his life, under the condition that Ethan continues to work for her to kill The Wolf. Basically, Vivi acts like a drug dealer who controls Ethan's addiction. She shows up whenever Ethan needs a dose of the drug and becomes hallucinating, of course, often at very crucial moments when he is engaging with a target.
Does Ethan kill The Wolf under the influence of drug and dealing with his family's melodrama? Take a guess, but not need to think too hard.
The script (by Luc Besson and Adi Hasak) bares the most blame for the film's absurdity. Hardly any of the characters is credible. Change into different Barbie outfits, Vivi seems doing nothing else but blackmailing Ethan, an outstanding C.I.A. veteran with a life-threaten disease. Seriously?
Zooney is a teenager who doesn't know how to cook, dance, or ride a bicycle. Suddenly, Ethan drops into her life and to teach her all of these, in between his busy schedule of chasing, killing, and torturing his targets. Oh yes! That surely sounds like how efficient a C.I.A. agent should be!
The director McG cares more about eye-popping action sequences than building a convincing character or attending details. The plot and its execution are sloppy to say the least. Never mind how bizarre that African refugee family appeared in the story. When the family's pregnant woman gives birth, she appears to be having twins, because even when Ethan expresses his sentiment with the newborn in hands, the woman's stomach is still bloated.
Kevin Costner is a fine actor and director, and he is not bad given the script he has to play. He must be short in cash and needs this paycheck to play Ethan. How else to explain his decision on taking on this role? Or is he forced to play Ethan in exchange for some kind of experimental drug from the producer? That certainly sounds ridiculous, doesn't it?