Cast: Kevin Costner, Connie Nielson, Hailee Steinfeld, Amber Heard
There's a scene in Kevin Costner's new film, '3 Days To Kill', in which he rescues his teenage daughter from a bunch of boys trying to get fresh with her in the restroom of a nightclub. The image of Costner carrying his daughter away in his arms is evocative of another moment that's imprinted on our minds...that of Costner carrying away a rattled Whitney Houston, her face buried in his chest, from that memorable scene in 'The Bodyguard'.
Costner has great old-school movie-star presence, and now 59, he still cuts it as a pretty effective action hero. But you can't help thinking that he deserves better than this.
In '3 Days To Kill', he's playing Ethan Renner, a CIA operative who says goodbye to the agency and heads to Paris to reconnect with his estranged wife (Connie Nielson) and daughter (Hailee Steinfeld) when he learns that he has only a few months to live. There he's visited by a mysterious agent (Amber Heard) who promises him access to an experimental miracle drug that could save his life, in exchange for one last job - he must hunt down and assassinate a pair of nefarious terrorists threatening to blow up the city.
It's your standard B-movie premise, but what's surprisingly funny is the manner in which the action is repeatedly interrupted by Renner's fatherly responsibilities. In one scene, while interrogating a guy and duct-taping him to a toilet seat, Renner's daughter calls, asking for a recipe for spaghetti sauce. It's a good thing the guy being tortured happens to be Italian.
Co-written and produced by Luc Besson, the film is a low-IQ guilty pleasure not unlike the 'Taken' movies, but this one is sloppier, and has subplots that don't belong. Renner's living arrangement with a family of squatters is baffling. And don't even get me started about Amber Heard's impossibly named super-agent Vivi Delay who has a thing for dominatrix costumes.
Director McG delivers nicely shot car chases and big explosions, but like his protagonist he has a harder time wrapping his head around the father-daughter emotional bits. In one awkward scene that may or may not make you squirm, Renner teaches his daughter how to slow-dance so she can impress her posh French boyfriend.
I'm going with two-and-a-half out of five for '3 Days To Kill'. It's not all bad, there are a handful of inspired moments. But there's no excuse why it isn't more fun.