FFWD REW

Three days disgrace

Kevin Costner offers up yet another stinker

Kevin Costner’s too old for this shit. In 3 Days to Kill he plays Ethan Renner a grizzled CIA assassin tasked with disposing government trash. And by trash I mean other people. We first meet him somewhere in Eastern Europe where he’s just finished shooting a hotel room full of bad guys. He looks tired his voice sounds like he’s been eating broken glass and he’s trying to get over a wicked cold. Give the guy a break.

The mission target is The Albino (Tómas Lemarquis) an evildoer who looks like Gollum if he was French. The Albino is at the hotel for some sort of ill-defined nefarious business involving the sale of a dirty bomb. At least I think that’s why he’s there; it’s never made clear in the film why this guy is so bad beyond being French and looking really strange.

He escapes by blowing up half the hotel somehow. He also kills every last one of the CIA agents — all of whom are terrible at their job apparently — except Ethan. Despite being knocked to the ground and bleeding profusely he manages to clip The Albino in the leg.

Ethan wakes up in the hospital to a bit of bad news. Turns out the terrible chest congestion and daily nosebleeds are really brain and lung cancer. He’s given a few months to live. He decides to spend what little time he has left reconnecting with his estranged wife Christine (Connie Nielsen) and surly teenage daughter Zoey (Hailee Steinfeld). They live in Paris because 3 Days to Kill is a European production.

It takes three days to kill but only half an hour to reconnect with your wife and daughter who hate you after abandoning them for a few years. Enter Vivi (Amber Heard) a saucy sorta-lesbian and sociopathic super CIA agent who offers Ethan a deal with the devil. She has her hands on an experimental cancer curing mega drug that she’ll give him if he kills The Albino. Oh and another bad guy called The Wolf. What The Wolf has to do with the film is never made clear.

Ethan starts racing around Paris blasting bad guys while taking time to bond with his family. The film sets up one action set piece only to quickly abandon it for a lengthy and dull “secret agent daddy” scene. He teaches his daughter how to ride a bike and saves her from a gang of rapey Euro trash that corners her in a club bathroom.

Ethan also spends ample time getting chemo treatments from Vivi in gaudy crimson-lit strip clubs. She tells him where and when to go and shoot anonymous bad guys. It’s all very easy for Ethan who’s surprisingly spry for a man dying of cancer and taking a drug that makes him hallucinate if his heart rate climbs too high. Which it does of course every time he encounters another evil European — blood spurts out his nose he falls down and we all feel stupid and ashamed for watching this inanity.

Director McG ( Charlie’s Angels ) has one foot firmly planted in the land of ’80s action flicks and another in the aggressively annoying European fantasy land of Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Luc Besson. (Besson co-wrote the screenplay.) The first 15 minutes offer a possibility of Cannon Films-like greatness then abandons it for whimsical endlessly digressive scenes of Costner’s “Major Dad” rescuing years of raging assholery by taking his daughter out for hot chocolate.

In one gratingly stupid scene Hailee wants to make spaghetti for her boyfriend so Ethan forces a captive Roberto Benigni lookalike to teach her how to make sauce. Because he’s Italian! They all know how to make spaghetti sauce right? Hilarious.

3 DAYS TO KILL directed by McG starring Kevin Costner Hailee Steinfeld and Connie Nielsen now playing.

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