Kevin Costner and the director McG are plunged into the madcap mayhem of
Monsieur Luc Besson in “3 Days to Kill,” a serio-comic thriller about mortality,
murder for hire and fatherhood.
This being a Besson script and production, it’s also about car chases and
epic shoot-outs, torture played for sadistic laughs, Paris locations and Peugeot
Besson, who morphed into a producer after “The Professional” and before “The
Transporter”, gives Costner the full Liam Neeson in “Taken” treatment, cashing
in on a career of cool in a movie that moves almost fast enough to keep us from
noticing how scruffy, discomfiting and absurdly over-the-top the whole thing is.
Costner is Ethan, a veteran C.I.A. agent diagnosed with cancer. But his new
control agent, a vamp named ViVi and played to the stiletto-heeled hilt by Amber
Heard, wants him to finish one last massacre — taking out a nuclear arms dealer
and his associates in the City of Light. She flirts.
“You’re not my type.”
“I’m EVERYbody’s type.”
The carrot? She has an experimental drug that might give Ethan longer to
live. And that could mean more time with his estranged wife (Connie Nielsen) and
the daughter he barely knows, played by “True Grit” teen Hailee Steinfeld. They
live in Paris. The girl doesn’t know what dad does for a living, or that he’s
dying. She’s a teen. She probably wouldn’t care.
“You might want to take something for that cough. It’s REALLY
McG (“Charlie’s Angels,” “We are Marshall”) stamps his signature on Besson’s
Euro-action vision with running gags. “Dad” keeps trying to get his rebellious
teen to ride this cool purple bike he brought her, her ring-tone on his phone is
“I Love It (I Don’t Care)” which always goes off just as he’s about the rip a
guy’s armpit hair off with duct tape. Everybody’s always trying to high-five
Ethan, and the French, Germans and others he runs into keep calling him
Ethan’s clueless about how to deal with a teen, so he’s always stopping the
torture to ask one underworld guy (Marc Androni, funny) how to cope, what to
do, how “to balance work and family.”
Heard, all lipstick and lingerie, long eyelashes and leatherwear — has
little to do here, something of a waste. Steinfeld’s Zoey is a bit of a drama
queen, but not a caricature of one. She is one transgression after another,
which Ethan seems loathe to punish and unable to reign in.
Besson co-wrote the script, and he works in shots at absentee parents, lazy
French cops and a legal system that allows cute African squatters more rights to
Ethan’s apartment than he has. But that turns out to be a warm and fuzzy cul de
sac, one of many in this movie, which veers from shocking shoot-outs to rank
sentiment.Ethan’s illness is forgotten for long stretches, but Costner, a hacking,
weathered study in wrinkles and violence, never lets on that the whole affair is
more of a lark than “Taken” ever was. A canny touch, the old-fashioned
split-screen opening credits, scored to the old R & B tune “Old Man
Trouble.” It fits.
A tone-deaf touch? Having father teach daughter to dance to “I Want to Make
It With You.” Seriously?
Daft and sloppy as it is, “3 Days” rarely fails to entertain. From the bike
riding lessons on Montmartre to dopey interrogation of the Italian “Accountant,”
interrupted for a marinara sauce recipe, it’s all part and parcel of the madness
of Besson, “From Paris, With Love,” filtered through McG and slapping a new
stamp of “cool” on the aging Oscar winner, Costner.
MPAA Rating:PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some
sensuality and language
Cast: Kevin Costner, Amber Heard, Hailee Steinfeld, Connie Nielsen
Credits: Directed by McG, written by Luc Besson and Adi Hasak. A Relativity
Running time: 1:53