Thursday, March 27, 2014

3 Days To Kill (2014)(Spoiler Review)



**This review contains spoilers**

Veteran CIA agent Ethan Renner (Kevin Costner) embarks on a mission to capture and eliminate a merciless arms dealer. The Wolf (Richard Sammel) is trying to sell a dirty bomb at a hotel, but he needs to conceal his identity, so The Wolf uses The Albino (Tomas Lemarquis), the top associate in The Wolf’s organization, as a representative to close the deal. Vivi Delay (Amber Heard), a lethal and trusted assassin in the CIA, leads the mission, and Vivi assumes the position of a lookout.

At the hotel, the mission goes awry, when The Albino recognizes one of the CIA agents. After a shootout, Ethan chases The Albino, but dizziness, a bloody nose, and a bad cough overwhelm Ethan. Ethan loses consciousness, but Ethan maims The Albino with one shoot to the leg. At the hospital, Ethan learns the truth about his bad cough: Terminal brain cancer spread into Ethan’s lungs, and Ethan will die in the coming months.

Clinging to one last chance for redemption with his family, Ethan unceremoniously retires, and Ethan returns to his home in Paris. Ethan works out a deal for boundaries and living arraignments with a squatting African family and the leader, Jules (Eriq Ebouaney), but time is running out. Ethan explains the situation to his estranged wife, Christine (Connie Nielsen), but Ethan makes a willing choice to hide the truth from his resentful teenage daughter, Zoey (Hailee Steinfeld), because Ethan is desperate to repair his broken relationship with Zoey.

Meanwhile, Vivi presents an irresistible offer to Ethan: Vivi will inject Ethan with an experimental drug to cure the cancer, and the drug will prolong Ethan’s life, giving Ethan the chance to enjoy more time with his family without any worries. The catch? In return, Vivi wants Ethan to hunt and kill The Wolf.

A begrudging Ethan accepts Vivi’s offer, but Ethan runs into a series of problems, when Christine suddenly departs for a business trip. Ethan tries to balance an awkward bonding experience with Zoey, troubles with Zoey’s boyfriend, Hugh (Jonas Bloquet), and his mission to kill The Wolf, with a pushy and persistent Vivi watching his every move. Can Ethan complete his mission, and regain Zoey’s trust before it’s too late?

Call me crazy, but am I the only one, who noticed a lack of enthusiasm from Kevin Costner? I get the whole point of Ethan being this worn out veteran, who’s staggering around on his last legs, but Costner is kind of dull in the leading role. Costner has a few moments of hilarity during the bonding experience with Zoey, but overall, I couldn’t shake the feeling of a seemingly bored Kevin Costner in the leading role.

Amber Heard’s Vivi had some potential as a femme fatale, but Heard’s character is restricted to here and there appearances. On top of that, Vivi is supposed to be a walking lethal weapon, but where’s the visual evidence to back up Vivi’s credentials (and no, the one lame kill at the end doesn‘t count)? More often than not, Vivi shows off her driving skills, she’s throwing her weight around as the boss (i.e. Vivi’s demands for that poor guy to give up his suit for Ethan), or Vivi’s just sitting around in a strip club watching a show, and that’s it. 

Hailee Steinfeld delivers a solid performance as Zoey, but her character is a clich├ęd “You can’t tell me what to do!” teenage brat. And Connie Nielsen is believable as, the conflicted wife, who’s trying to give Ethan a second chance, but she’s reluctant to trust Ethan again.

The bad guys? Eh, I can’t say too much about them. Richard Sammel’s The Wolf is a generic villain, who sells and trades weapons of mass destruction, as the most “dangerous threat in the world.” And Lemarquis’s The Albino is limited to cold stares, and sporadic lines of dialogue.

Redundancy. It’s a big problem in 3 Days To Kill, because they stick to a formula for three running gags. First, you have Ethan’s “Hey! I’m trying to bond with my daughter!” interruptions during Ethan’s interrogation/torture scenes with kidnapped victims. Ethan’s on the phone with Zoey, or Ethan’s in the car with Zoey, and he takes a break to silence his victim, because you know, bonding with Zoey is important.

The purple bike? Oy vey. Ethan buys a purple (Zoey’s favorite color as a child) bicycle for Zoey as a present, but Zoey refuses to ride the bike throughout the movie, because she’s too embarrassed. Although, to be fair, Zoey eventually gives in to Ethan’s requests towards the end. 

Also, you have the ring tone gag. Zoey downloads a poppish ring tone on Ethan’s phone in an attempt to modernize Ethan. Yeah, I get the irony of a fuddy-duddy adjusting to the modern world with a pop song ring tone, but the reoccurring ring tone gag hits an annoying point after the first time. That’s the big problem with all the running gags here: They’re funny, when you see them for the first time. After that? They’re stale, because you’re seeing the same pattern/routine over and over again.

And it’s not a gag, but Ethan’s blackout/nose bleed sequences during a confrontation with the bad guys (The Albino and The Wolf) is another bad case of overkill here. Before the big kill(s), Ethan stumbles around, he falls to the ground, and he can’t pull the trigger, because he’s too weak. The problem? It’s hard to jump to the edge of your seat, when Ethan falls to the ground, because you know there’s a 99.9% chance he’ll survive to continue the fight.

So we’re in the final moments of the movie, and Ethan murdered The Albino at a subway station. Eventually, Ethan and Christine accompany Zoey to a party  Hugh’s father is hosting the party…and The Wolf is a guest at the party, because he’s a business partner with Hugh’s father.

The Wolf orders his men to hunt and kill Ethan at the party, but Ethan survives the assault. Vivi shows up to ensure the deal for Ethan killing The Wolf, but Ethan’s cancer overwhelms him at the last second. Ethan’s on the ground, and Vivi orders him to pull the trigger. But Ethan ignores Vivi’s demands, because he promised Christine he would retire with no questions asked. Ethan drops his gun, and Vivi uses her gun to murder The Wolf

After the massacre, Ethan is still alive, and he’s enjoying Christmas with Zoey and Christine. Ethan opens a mysterious present, and it’s another syringe full of the cancer medicine. To end the movie, it’s revealed Vivi delivered the syringe, and they show a shot of Vivi standing on a nearby cliff, with a clear view of Ethan and his family.

I don’t get it. Ethan bludgeons, tortures, and kills people throughout the movie, BUT at the end, he makes an out of the blue decision to spare a dangerous arms dealer, because he promised (keep in mind, Ethan promised retirement in the early stages of the movie) Christine retirement? 

And what about Vivi? She’s supposed to be this cold-hearted and uncompromising vixen. One minute, she murders The Wolf in cold blood, because Ethan disobeyed a direct order. But she shows compassion out of nowhere with another syringe to extend Ethan’s life? Again, I don’t get it, because the finale for 3 Days To Kill is loaded with one too many inconsistencies.

In the end, I won’t sit here and lie to you, because 3 Days To Kill pulled a few laughs out of me, but the final product is one big mess. The finale is loaded with head-shaking inconsistencies, and to add to a laundry list of problems, 3 Days To Kill features one too many sub-plots. A prime example is the sub-plot with Jules’ family.

The sub-plot with Jules’ family feels useless in the grand scheme of things, because Jules and his family don’t add anything significant to the story, and truth be told, I COMPLETELY forgot about Jules and his family at one point. Why? Because the story is too convoluted. We’re dealing with a man, who’s dying of cancer, Ethan is trying to make up for lost time with Zoey and Christine before his death, Ethan is hunting two villains, and 3 Days To Kill adds another pancake to the stack with another sub-plot for Ethan and Vivi’s storyline together.

To make matters worse, 3 Days To Kill’s overstuffed problem hinders the development for other storylines. Need an example? The storyline with Hugh’s father as The Wolf’s business partner. That’s a major development at the end, but it’s another useless storyline, and they ruined the potential for any real shock value with the reveal, because there’s no explanation whatsoever for the origins of the partnership between Hugh’s father and The Wolf.

3 Days To Kill wants to be a comedy, an action film, and they squeeze in a storyline about a dying man fighting for one last chance to bond with his family. It’s too much, and unfortunately, I’ll remember 3 Days To Kill as a film with a ton of potential, but a bad case of overkill and redundancy ruined everything.

Rating: 3/10

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