Written by / 2/21/2014 / 2 Comments / , , , , , ,

KEVIN COSTER IN 3 DAYS TO KILL WITH HAILEE STEINFELD

year: 2014 rating: ***1/2
Grunge music is all the rage, Bill Clinton’s in the White House, the Internet has just begun and Kevin Costner is an energetic leading man…

Okay so it’s really not the ‘90s again, but some things won’t let go... And Kevin Costner has a brand new chance to – like Bruce, Sly and Arnold the last couple years – prove he’s still got something to offer the hard-boiled thriller genre…

But it’s not like this “comeback” is a total surprise: Costner’s turned up in small yet important roles lately, playing Clark Kent’s father in MAN OF STEEL and Jack Ryan’s mentor in SHADOW RECRUIT. And now he's landed a pretty decent, fleshed-out vehicle although the real credit belongs not to the director, McG, but Luc Besson, who wrote the original story and co-scripted… His signature is all over THREE DAYS TO KILL.

Costner plays ex CIA agent Ethan Renner, who, reminiscent of the classic film noir DOA, is a dying man with very little time left…

We begin with a coughing Ethan staking out a villain named Wolf (who has a really creepy henchman) in a prologue full of edgy turmoil, setting the pace for the rest of the movie, especially since, right before bombs blast and necks break, a guilty Ethan calls his estranged daughter, a teen on her eighteenth birthday, letting us know this isn’t your usual crime flick.

After moving to Paris to spend important time with his ex wife and kid, Ethan’s reluctantly hired by sexy rogue agent Vivi Delay – a sly, wicked version of a James Bond girl – to kill the man who got away in the intro. For a tradeoff, Amber Heard’s dreamlike femme fatalle provides an experimental cure to Ethan’s disease: sporadic hallucinatory injections will keep him ticking, but only if he pulls off that one lucrative score

In the Besson fashion, mixing rugged crime with patriarchal responsibilities, Ethan must kill the same amount of time with his daughter that he does gathering clues for the primary target, which includes a ton of gunfire, car chases and an unlikely friendship with a guy he has to torture, more than once. 

In the lead role, Kevin Costner’s hardnosed, timeworn exterior fits a man who may not have long to live… A gruff, raspy voice sounds like he's seen and done just about everything while his posture, bent and formidable, provides a believably unbreakable hit man who can’t be stopped, despite advanced age. And yet you’ll never hear him utter the words, “I’m too old for this,” or something of that clichéd nature. Ironically enough, the fatal disease makes Ethan seem even younger, and stronger, than if he were handicapped only by time. 

In the pivotal role of young Zoey, TRUE GRIT starlet Hailee Steinfeld isn’t an annoying intrusion that kids can be. In fact the father/daughter scenes are intriguing and unpredictable enough to where the bloody action feels more like a break than a mainline being intruded upon.

Perhaps McG does deserve equal credit after all: Unlike Besson’s recent directorial misfire, THE FAMILY,  this movie's mobile ultra-violence blends neatly with the parental subplot, which never gets too corny or melodramatic despite a farfetched premise, a wasted story on squatters sharing Ethan's apartment, technical issues concerning voice-looping, an overlong climax and a tacked-on conclusion. But as pure escapism goes...
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2 comments:

  1. Great review! I was planning on seeing this one any way but now definitely.

    ReplyDelete
  2. our TRUE GRIT starlet is in this. making us real Polanskis.

    ReplyDelete

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