Directed by: McG
Starring: Kevin Costner, Haile Steinfeld, Connie Nelson, Amber Heard
3 Days to Kill is a film written and produced by Luc Besson. Besson really knows this sort of material having been in a similar place before with the classic Leon: The Professional. McG is one of the few remaining directors in Hollywood that came from music videos. He has a fairly heavy hand when it comes to action movies having brought us films like Charlie’s Angels and the painfully bad Terminator Salvation. With the pedigree that 3 Days to Kill has it’s hard to tell what to expect from the film.
Kevin Costner plays an aging but still capable assassin working for the CIA. After an only partially successful gig killing some dudes he learns that he is suffering from a terminal brain disease. The CIA immediately fires him so he decides he must spend his few remaining days trying to reconnect with his daughter played by Hailee Steinfeld. Nearly immediately after he returns home his ex-wife must leave for work for a few days and of course there’s just no one to watch after her daughter so her dying father must step in. Did that sound too sarcastic? If it didn’t then I have failed because this set up comes off extremely heavy handed and on the nose. Maybe had Besson been running the show he might have been able to make the scene feel a little softer and more earthy somehow. The previous scene found Costner’s character saving the day when his daughter’s hair was messed up by telling her to wash it. Man what a dad! You see this is all really cheesy matinee stuff and at its heart 3 Days to Kill is absolutely a matinee or these days a rental.
As the father and daughter bonding continues a mysterious woman played by Amber Heard shows up to convince Costner’s character back into the killing business. The thing is though that for most of the movie you wonder why because she seems quite capable of handling the situations herself. Heard has developed such a funny brand of type casting within her career. She’s sort of pigeon holed into this drive-in diva bad ass kind of character. It might have all started with Zombieland and was then hammered home by Drive Angry. She, Costner, and Seinfeld are all actually really capable in these roles though.
The truth is that the performances and connection between Costner and Steinfeld allows their scenes to rise above the campy direction and dialogue. Their more, well…subtle, scenes are sometimes more interesting than the well-directed but “been there done that” action scenes in the film. By the closing credits the film doesn’t end up being a terrible time, it just isn’t a particularly memorable one. The action is ho-hum and while the actors do a great job they do work within the parameters of a formulaic and sometimes silly script. Costner carries the film by making his character the most complex being both tough and vulnerable and sometimes darkly funny. He’s a great actor that deserves better work.
3 Days to Kill was shot digitally and it makes the transition to blu-ray fairly seamless. Colors are well balanced and detail levels are consistently high. Black levels don’t offer any issues with muddiness or graying either. The only annoyances with this presentation are decisions made by McG and his cinematographer, and possibly his editor because it’s possible the blue shift in color was done in post-production. McG, music videos are kind of over my friend, enough with the blue and green color shifts, thanks. The film over all looks just as it was meant to look theatrically, very solid transfer.
English 5.1 DTS Master track is the only option for sound here and it’s also near reference quality like the video. There’s great low end during the explosions, tons of surround movement during action scenes and ambient noises are handled with a delicate touch during quieter scenes. The only thing keeping this disc from being a demo worthy disc is that the sound offerings aren’t as high budgeted as a bigger movie but what is here is really well transferred and executed.
The Packaging and Bonus Features
The digipak presentation cones in a slim blue amaray case featuring a DVD on one side and the blu-ray on the other. The cover art and the art on the sleeve are exactly the same and lifted from one of the movie posters, not anything to write home about.
The best bonus features on the blu-ray are HD exclusives that together run about 15 minutes and offer a making of featurette and a focus on director McG’s filmmaking style. These two featurettes are fairly run of the mill and feature sound bites from the cast and much of the crew.
The only other feature is a brief discussion with a reel ex-CIA agent sharing stories from his career. The brief featurette is mildly interesting but it never really offers real connection to the movie.
Finally there is an extended cut of the film that runs about five minutes longer than the theatrical version.
Where’s the audio commentary??
3 Days to Kill is terrible it’s just very average in every way from story to action. There are some good performances here and while the action doesn’t offer any surprises Costner does handle the grizzled bad ass pretty well and Amber Heard is never really a bad thing. It’s a rental and a sometimes fun one.