3 Days to Kill

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Experienced CIA agent Ethan Renner (Kevin Costner), originally from Pittsburgh, works with a team to capture the Albino, lieutenant to an arms trafficker called the Wolf, as he is selling a dirty bomb to some terrorists.[6] The Albino deduces the trap when he recognizes one of the agents, whom he kills. Renner is able to cripple the Albino by shooting him in the leg, but not capture him. Meanwhile, elite CIA assassin Vivi Delay (Amber Heard), who has been personally assigned by the Director to kill the Wolf, monitors the operation and notices Renner has unknowingly seen the Wolf.

Renner is nearly disabled by an extreme cough, which is diagnosed as terminal brain cancer which has spread to his lungs. He is given only a few months to live, and will not see the next Christmas. For decades he has kept his dangerous career a carefully guarded secret from his wife Christine (Connie Nielsen) and daughter Zooey (Hailee Steinfeld), at the cost of losing them. He decides to spend his remaining time trying to fix his relationship with his estranged daughter, and if possible, his ex-wife. He returns to Paris, where he and his family live separately, to find the Réunion family of Jules is squatting in his apartment. He is told by the government that he is not permitted to evict indigent squatters until after the winter.

He makes an awkward reconnection with Christine and Zooey, and tells Christine of his terminal illness. She allows him to reconnect with Zooey, and when she has to go out of the country on business, she is forced to let him look after Zooey. Vivi recruits him to find and kill the Wolf, in exchange for an experimental drug that could extend his life significantly. Renner reluctantly accepts, to get more time with his family. Vivi tells him the way to trap the Wolf is by getting the Albino, in turn by getting his accountant, in turn by kidnapping the gang’s limousine driver.

All the while Renner is fighting the hallucinogenic effect of the medicine, which occurs whenever his heart rate goes too high, and which he can only control by consuming alcohol. He must also deal with Zooey’s school problems, including her habit of lying so she can sneak out partying. He manages to keep her out of trouble, and slowly reestablishes a father relationship with her, which impresses his wife.

He tracks the Wolf and the Albino into the subway, but they gain the upper hand when he is disabled by the hallucinations. The Albino attempts to kill him by pushing him in front of an oncoming train, but Renner manages to push the Albino on the track instead. The Wolf escapes.

The family is invited to a party thrown by Zooey’s boyfriend’s father, who happens to be the Wolf’s business partner. Renner manages to protect Christine and Zooey, kill all the Wolf’s men, and trap the Wolf in an elevator before breaking the cable. The Wolf manages to survive, wounded, but Renner is again disabled and drops his gun where the Wolf can get it. Vivi kicks the gun back to Renner, telling him to finish the job and kill the Wolf, but he decides not to, because “I promised my wife I’d quit.” Vivi then kills the Wolf.

At last retired, Renner survives to Christmas, which he is spending at a beach house with Zooey and Christine. He discovers a small, red wrapped gift package, which contains another vial of the cancer medicine. Vivi is seen on a hill behind the house smiling as Renner opens the package.


Well, here it is Saturday afternoon. It just rained a little bit and, for those of you that know what it is like down here in south Louisiana, I don’t need to tell you what this did to the humidity on this already hot and sticky summer day. So, why not watch something that has been sitting in my Netflix queue for quite some time now, 3 Days to Kill.

What is this about?

After a terminally ill secret agent retires to spend his remaining time with his family, he’s asked to complete a dangerous last mission in exchange for an experimental drug that might save him — if he can survive its hallucinatory side effects.

What did I like?

Father knows best. While the plot of this film is about an aging CIA agent on one last mission, it is the relationship he has with his daughter that may be the true selling point of this film. Costner’s character is a man who left his wife and child in Paris for 5 years without returning, only making the occasional phone call once a year, if that. Needless to say, this causes some sever friction with his daughter, who is willing to forgive, but in time. She is a teenager, after all!

Getting too old for this. The last few years have brought us a slew of films starring aging action stars ranging from Stallone and Schwarzenegger all the way to Liam Neeson. It appears that Kevin Costner wants to get in on the action, so to speak. While the guy has lost more than a step since his days as Robin of Locksley in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, he still is able to deliver a performance that makes audiences believe he could be a badass.

Comic relief. Going into this, I was expecting some dark, super serious action packed crime thriller with little to no moments of levity. Imagine my surprise when there happens to be some jokes here and there, including a character who, once he serves his purpose, exists only as comic relief. A film like this needs that change in tone, if only for a few minutes, just so audiences can relax for a bit and then get back into the intensity.

What didn’t I like?

Albino. There is a villain, the right hand man of our main antagonist, known as the Albino. I have two issues with this guy. First off, the actor portraying him, Tomas Lemarquis, has a unique look, but he isn’t an Albino. Second, this guy has a sadistic streak in him that would have been nice to see more of but, at the same time, I don’t think it would have fit the tone of this film. I’m not so sure the scenes of extreme violence he did have fit.

Focus. As I said before, I appreciate the father/daughter bonding, but it did take over a good chunk of the film. I had almost forgotten that this wasn’t some family drama, but rather and action film involving a CIA agent. The whole plot point of him searching for this guy known as The Wolf took a backseat.

You Heard me? The film opens with a mysterious meeting involving Amber Heard and a couple of important looking fellows. This is the most demure and professional Heard looks in the film, as every scene she’s in from that point on, she seems to wear shorter and shorter dresses that get tighter and tighter. Obviously, she is playing up the sexiness angle, but for what reason? Her character is basically Mirage from The Incredibles, in some ways. Her job could very well have been done my e-mail or text. Granted, those messages wouldn’t have looked as good in tight dresses.

Final thoughts on 3 Days to Kill? Well, Kevin Costner sure does get a lot done in a short amount of time. How many of us can say the same? I know it takes me about a month or so just to clean the apartment! All in all this is a film that will please some that want some sort of action drama, but those that were more in the mood for straight action will be disappointed, as there isn’t as much as we would like. That said, I believe that this is a quality picture worth a shot, especially on lazy Saturday. Give it a go sometime, why don’t you?

4 out of 5 stars


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