Luc Besson can write, but what about 3 Days to Kill (2014)?
Luc Besson is a great writer, director, and storyteller, having been responsible for more than one movie I’ve enjoyed over the years. Besson was responsible for action movies and thrillers like Lucy, The Professional, Taken, the Fifth Element, District 13, and others. All of these movies have a good following, but 3 Days to Kill is a different story.
I’ve never heard anyone say that 3 Days to Kill is their favorite Luc Besson movie. And Kevin Costner is no Timothy Olyphant. It is no wonder they shoehorn in a flimsy family subplot, because Costner is not jumping around like he’s 20. Hell, he’s not even 30. The guy is 59 years old. But I guess if Liam Neeson can do it, so can he.
Luc Besson gives Kevin Costner every opportunity to succeed, but crowds him with strange distractions. In response, Costner starts squinting at everything, but Besson has the bad guys blow up a whole floor of a hotel and come out shooting to start the movie. Then we get some jazz music and Costner can’t stop squinting again, because he’s moody and has terminal cancer. It doesn’t stop there, because Costner’s character Ethan has an ex-wife and a rocky relationship with his daughter. I guess with that description, you might think this film is way too melodramatic. You might be right.
One problem with this movie is Amber Heard. She plays Ethan’s arrogant boss, and she goes way over the top with her stupid performance. She’s good-looking and knows it. She walks slow for the camera. She flicks her stupid blonde hair and smirks like she thinks she’s a teenager. I think her character really got on my nerves, although that really is the whole point of Vivi, the wafer-thin assassin shrew. I guess Amber Heard succeeded.
After terminally ill Ethan stumbles around for a while, he realizes he needs more and more alcohol to stave off hallucinations brought on by an experimental anti-cancer drug. Yeah, that’s what happens. He needs to keep chugging it down like a sailor to stop from seeing bad CGI. It’s true. By this point, I guess I was sure the movie was too overwritten. The beginning was good though, and the action held my attention. It just needed to move along a little faster.
This film is almost a comedy. Ethan’s teen daughter whines about her hair and tells him not to be weird. He tortures an Italian guy in a busted bathroom, but when his daughter calls needing a spaghetti sauce recipe, Ethan forces the guy to help her out. Hilarious? This movie needs to seriously stop trying so hard to be over-the-top. Luc Besson can’t just give Kevin Costner some dialogue and let him act. No no, he has to throw in one-thousand different stupid scenarios for him to parade around in. It’s almost as if he doesn’t believe Costner can act, so he needs distractions. It’s pretty dumb.
The last part of the movie is charming. I’m not sure, but I don’t think anybody can dislike a scene with smooth jazz, wine, Italian cooking and romance. Did I mention there’s smooth jazz? Everything’s better with smooth jazz. Well, if you don’t like that, Ethan gets a call to go kill some guys, so there is that. Unfortunately, the bad guys stumble through his daughter’s prom so he can have a family moment in the middle of a murder. On the bright side, Amber Heard gives him more cancer medicine for Christmas. Yay?
I’m not sure which is worse, Amber Heard’s acting or realizing that this is a Christmas movie. Luc Besson sure has a lot of hits on his resume, but this isn’t one of them. When he’s on, he’s REALLY on, and his action scenes are the best thing since sliced bread, but when he misses, he REALLY misses. Hitman and 3 Days to Kill stick out as average to not very good. I guess I don’t get it, because this movie doesn’t know that it’s supposed to be an action movie, not a romantic comedy. Overall, 3 Days to Kill is a Luc Besson anomaly I might never understand.