3 Days to Kill


By Justin Jasso (@jjasso007)

As most people are aware (I hope you are aware), children do not come with guidebooks. So when a child is born, there aren’t any guidelines on how to raise a child each day of their life, what exactly to do and not to do, or standards for every situation imaginable. Every child is different and parenting styles vary like the many outfits of Lady Gaga. But parenting is probably even more complicated when you’re a CIA assassin and aren’t around much to take care of your child. SO how does a father enter back in the life of a child he hasn’t been around much in some 16 years? Such is the scenario by the new film from director McG with a script by Luc Besson in 3 Days to Kill.

Ethan Renner (Kevin Costner) is an aging CIA operative. His particular skill set involves him killing certain people around the world. After one particular mission that doesn’t quite meet expectations, he finds out that he has a disease and only has so much time to live. Thus he decides to take what little time he has left in his life and try to spend time with his wife Christine (Connie Nielson) and daughter Zoey (Hailee Steinfield). But the CIA doesn’t allow him to go too far. There’s an experimental drug that can potentially give Ethan his life back, provided he completes the mission Vivi Delay (Amber Heard) has for him within three days. Ethan must complete this mission, to get his life back, while being able to finally bond with his daughter who rarely knows him. The clock is ticking.

2013 was a big year for Kevin Costner, and helped reignite a spark in his career. He was a part of Man of Steel, took a turn in the latest Tom Clancy based film, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, and also worked on what could be the next version of Moneyball in Draft Day. He also has the current 3 Days to Kill. 3 Days to Kill marks a return to the action genre for Costner, and a fairly good one at that. Costner is completely believable as a CIA operative (almost too believable at times) as well as a misplaced father. The movie calls into question the reality of our lives when faced with an impending end to our being and our human nature to want to make amends and allow ourselves to bask in that which is truly important in life: family. Costner obviously doesn’t know what it means to be a parent, and we can laugh with a humility at some of the actions he takes to communicate and interact with his daughter. While this is an action film, it’s also a drama about family.

While the action sequences are good in their own right, the real joy of the film comes in the interaction between Ethan and Zoey. There is an initial distance and awkwardness between the two characters in the beginning. They haven’t seen each other since she was little. When he initially tries to pick her up from high school and brings her a bike to ride home in front of her friends, it doesn’t get much more awkward. But as the story develops, Ethan realizes the difficulty in raising a child, especially a teenage child, and Zoey finds out what it means to have a father in her life. The other relationships in the film take a backseat to that of Ethan and Zoey and almost seem superficial at best. Ethan and Christine have a couple moments while Amber Heard feels out of place in her role.

3 Days to Kill offers plenty of entertainment in both action and drama for all audiences. Some of the sequences become repetitive to where you know what is going to happen and wish they would come up with something new, but that takes a back seat to the real story that is the relationship between a father and daughter. Costner has had a good year (you can say two years if you add in the Hatfields and McCoys) and the momentum should continue to be positive for him. Will 3 Days to Kill be a box-office success? Hard to say right now, but it’s definitely a film that is worthwhile.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars


  1. JayneFebruary 21st, 2014 at 5:18 am

    Thanks for the review … sounds like something I would like so I will make an effort to catch this one.

  2. JustinFebruary 24th, 2014 at 9:58 am

    Let me know what you think of the film after watching it 🙂

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