A lack of focus: ‘3 Days to Kill’

The thing that made the film “Jaws” so much better than Peter Benchley’s book was that it ditched the author’s love story and focused on one subject.  Man v. Beast.

That can’t be said about actor Kevin Costner’s role as a CIA hit man in “3 Days to Kill.”  Without Costner’s popular brand this film would be DOA in theaters.

Costner’s character, Ethan, is torn between carrying out one last violent task of killing an international terrorist and, two, putting his estranged family life back together.  The film ping-pongs between those themes of job and family, bang, bang, bang.  Consequently neither worked for me.

And, worse, the film tries to come across as both comedy and drama.  When you see two writers credited for a screenplay, in this instance Luc Beeson and Adi Hasak, you have to wonder.  Anyway, “3 Days” is just a mess.

The plot.  The aging Ethan discovers that he is dying of cancer and has only a short time to live.  He is approached by a beautiful and zany CIA agent, Vivi Delay, to kill an international terrorist named “Wolf.”  Ethan agrees to the job only if he is guaranteed certain monies for the security of his daughter, Zooey, and wife, Christine.  The unbelievably cool and efficient Vivi eventually offers up a bonus, an “experimental drug” that may give him more time to live.

Having read no reviews, I fully expected an action flick ala “The Borne Identity.”  I was stunned when it slowly seeped in that this film was more about “family” than anything.  And schmaltzy and unbelievable at that.  The biggest question I had as the scenes rat-a-tatted by was when, not if,  Zooey would at long last call Ethan “dad.”

On the other side, there is plenty of bloodshed.  I gave up counting bodies.  But had I been in director McG’s shoes, I would’ve gone with that.  Not the thin preposterous ressurection of Ethan’s family.




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