(NEW YORK) — 3 Days To Kill starts out well enough.
Kevin Costner plays Ethan Renner, a gruff, cantankerous CIA fixer who seems to be a combination of every character Clint Eastwood has played over the past 20 years… with a bad cough.
Killing comes easy to Ethan, parenting does not. In the middle of an operation, after killing a number of international terrorists in a hotel, Ethan finds a few minutes to duck out of the surveillance van to find a pay phone (a cell phone is not secure) and call his teenage daughter Zoey, played by Hailee Steinfeld, to wish her a happy birthday.
In the midst of leaving her a message, the operation goes south when the terrorists the CIA were trying to trap realize they were set up, and leave the hotel with bombs booming and guns blazing.
Ethan chases the ring leader but runs out of juice, shooting the baddie in the leg just before passing out. While the man gets away, Ethan wakes up in a hospital and is told, thanks to cancer, he has three to five months to live.
For Ethan, now seems like as good a time as any to become a dad and make up for lost time with Zoey. He moves back to his apartment in Paris, where an African family is squatting and according to French law, he can’t kick them out until winter is over. Next order of business, tell his ex-wife, played by Connie Nielsen, he’s dying and get her permission to repair his relationship with Zoey. She reluctantly agrees, as long as Ethan promises he’s done with the CIA. He promises.
Then along comes Amber Heard’s CIA agent Vivi Delay, an impossibly sexy, coquettish, over-the-top CIA agent, who blackmails Ethan back into the business by offering him access to a cure for his cancer, providing he kill a bunch of terrorists for her in three days’ time. What’s an estranged dad/trained killer supposed to do? What Kevin Costner could’ve done is said “No” to this script.
3 Days To Kill starts out as a likeable action comedy, but once Vivi shows up the movie devolves into an untenable mess. It’s filled with bad dialogue, boring and inexplicable action sequences, repeated jokes that don’t work the first time we see them, and an utter lack of respect for the audience’s intelligence.
3 Days To Kill feels like it took three days to write.
Two out of five stars.
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio
Jackie Wattles, CNN
Brian Stelter, CNN
Natalia Hepworth, EastIdahoNews.com