Liam Neeson really does not have anything to worry about. His position as the world’s biggest middle-aged bad ass is well and truly safe following Charlie’s Angels director McG’s latest foray into the action genre with 3 Days to Kill. You have got to feel a little sorry for Kevin Costner; the Oscar winner really did not stand a chance with a film that descends into an utter shambles.
Let me begin my saying two things: ‘The Albino’ and ‘The Wolf’. The tone is set for the movie inside the first scene when you discover these are the imaginative, and in no way cringeworthy, names of the villains. You can only imagine the hours the script writers toiled over those corkers. This is even before you get to the plot: an unbalanced, ropy affair that is as laughable as the films attempt at family based humour. The movie follows Ethan Renner (Costner), a veteran CIA agent dying of cancer who wants to reconnect with his teenager daughter Zooey (Hailee Steinfield) before his time is up. As he tries to rebuild his relationship with his child, Renner is offered the chance to try an experimental drug by CIA big wig Vivi Delay (Amber Heard) in exchange for one final job.
It is difficult where to start when deconstructing such a torrid affair. The films storyline gets into one big mess, not knowing where to concentrate its efforts. There are two conflicting story’s co-existing that do not go together well: the father-daughter relationship and the action-based shoot-em-ups. McG has two hours to solve this conundrum, failing to find a solution in that time of which turns the whole spectacle into a complete mess.
The humour, and that word is used very lightly here, is odd and often misplaced. The jokes revolve around Renner’s discomfort in the father role – something he is not used to – and the gags feel just as uncomfortable. The strangest on-running quip is to do with a bike he has bought for his daughter, which in the scene it first appears seemed to have just popped out of thin air. Regardless, it feels as out of place as most things in the movie do.
Hailee Steinfield, the Oscar nominated 17-year-old, was the films only bright spark, playing the role of the young girl with plenty of teenager angst to a convincing standard. What was probably one of the strangest roles of the year, however, was Heard’s Vivi Delay. She first appears as the serious agent type, but then quickly transforms into some strange seductress figure more interested in getting into Ethan’s pants than solving any crime.
3 Days to Kill is almost so bad, it is hilarious. But after the initial hilarity wears off and you realise that this is, unfortunately, not meant as a joke, you know it is just plain rotten. You can see what they were trying to do – an attempt at adding a deeper core to an action film – but it just went horribly wrong, and very quickly.