Review: 3 Days to Kill, 15 Minutes to Forget

In case it's not clear the movie is set in Paris...
In case it’s not clear the movie is set in Paris…

There was a time Luc Besson was a force to reckon with. During the ’90s Besson treated us with top notch entertainment (The Professional, The Fifth Element, La Femme Nikita), the kind that reverberates for years. At some point, Besson must have decided the rewards weren’t worth the effort and veered towards cheap thrillers without cinematic value. The filmmaker also opted out the director chair and limited himself to script and produce interchangeable titles like The Transporter, Taken and From Paris with Love.

3 Days to Kill is another American knockoff with European flavor. That said, it’s quite an entertaining failure. It’s like The Room of Euro-thrillers, a tonally inconsistent movie, stuffed with clichés and one or two funny ideas to keep you from storming out.

Kevin Costner, who is experiencing a resurgence of sorts, is a retired CIA agent with just a few months to live due to cancer. The once cold-blooded killer has decided to relocate to Paris and spend his final days reconnecting with his estranged daughter (Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit) and his ex-wife (Connie Nielsen, The Devil’s Advocate).

Uncle Sam has other plans for him. His handler (Amber Heard) offers the retired assassin an experimental drug in exchange for a final mission: Find and dispatch two international terrorists, The Wolf and The Albino. It’s hard to take this movie seriously with those nicknames.

3 Days to Kill unfolds predictably but has so many little quirks it becomes tolerable. Costner’s apartment in Paris is filled with the nicest squatters you could imagine. His main form of transportation is a purple bike and seeks parental advice from the same criminals he is tracking down. The cherry on the cake is Amber Heard as Costner’s boss. Heard is hilarious as an over-the-top sexpot who embodies every femme fatale trait ever created. She also gets the best one-liners (“I’m EVERYBODY’S type”).

If you’re looking for empty calories, 3 Days to Kill could be satisfying enough. Just don’t expect to remember any of it once you leave the theatre.

Two hard-living prairie dogs. 3 Days to Kill is now playing.

Author: Jorge Ignacio Castillo

Journalist, film critic, documentary filmmaker, and sometimes nice guy. Member of the Vancouver Film Critics Circle. Like horror flicks, long walks on the beach and candlelight dinners. Allergic to cats.