THREE DAYS TO KILL (2014) – FILM REVIEW BY PAUL LAIGHT

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THREE DAYS TO KILL (2014) – FILM REVIEW BY PAUL LAIGHT

**CONTAINS SPOILERS – ALTHOUGH NOT MUCH TO SPOIL AS THE FILMMAKERS HAVE DONE THAT ALREADY**

For me going to the cinema is very much like going to a restaurant: the trailers are the starter; the movie is the main course; the director is the chef and the popcorn and sweets are dessert. To continue the analogy I would describe 3 DAYS TO KILL (2014) as a complete dog’s dinner. Given I have witnessed by chance a dog eat its own vomit and horse excrement – different dog on different occasions – this is probably the nicest thing I can say about the film.

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3 DAYS TO KILL is another of those EuropaCorp B-movie action genre thrillers from the Luc Besson stable which have proved very popular to audiences seeking heady thrills, explosions, testosteronic fist-fights, car chases, post-ironic-tight-clothed femme fatales, dastardly bad guys plus the added whiff of xenophobia  thrown in.  Some of which, such as The Transporter (2002), Taken (2008) and District 13 (2004) are actually very entertaining. Yet, Eurocorp have also produced some excellent genre movies giving inexperienced directors a foot up in the industry e.g. Tell No One (2006). But like many studios for every hit there is big fat turkey.

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Talking of turkeys this movie is one severely undercooked bird.  The ‘chef’ McG, who killed the Terminator franchise reboot and ruined the well-cast Spy v Spy romantic action thriller This Means War (2013), has to be one of the most consistently poor directors around.  Because he takes two very familiar plots —

1)  Dying Secret Service Agent/hired killer (Kevin Costner) is given a chance to live longer by super-sexy but plastic Amber Heard if he does one last job in Paris.

2) Dying Secret Service Agent/hired killer (Costner) tries to redeem his past failings as a father by rebuilding his relationship with his ex-wife (Connie Neilsen) and teenage daughter (Hailee Stansfield) who lives – guess where?!?!  Paris is where!!

— And fails at every stage to bring them to the boil satisfactorily. The tone of the piece was all over the shop. One minute I think I was meant to be laughing and the next minute I think I was meant to be adrenalized and the next minute I was meant to be sad.  But I felt nothing. Added to the plot elements mentioned was a sub-plot involving an African family squatting in Costner’s apartment. But this only slowed down the story even more and was an extraneous redemptive device Costner’s character didn’t need.

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Now I love a good spy movie. I also enjoy familial dramas. But it takes a skilled writer and director to make this work together. In fact 3 Days to Kill is one of those films where you genuinely wonder whether the filmmakers knew what they were doing.  Frankensteinian in concept with bits and pieces nicked from different genres and films, yet like Frankenstein it’s disfigured, falling apart at the seams and essentially a dead film walking.

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There are positives about the film and one of them is that the film ends. Having said that the opening set-piece is pretty good and Costner is dependable in the kind of role Liam Neeson has made his own in recent years. There’s an amusing scene with a stereotypical Italian Accountant in a rare moment when the family and spy plots actually worked well together. Plus there are a couple of well-choreographed car chases too.

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However, in between the action we suffer long dull scenes between Costner’s father and his daughter played by Hailee Stansfield. To be honest I doubt a Bergman or Kubrik in their prime could save this rotting fetid stew of a script which the writer’s cooked up in less than the 3 day’s it takes to kill McG’s career. Here’s hoping anyway.

 

 

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4 thoughts on “THREE DAYS TO KILL (2014) – FILM REVIEW BY PAUL LAIGHT”

  1. Amazing Review. Unfortunately, you haven’t let me know if it fits into the “It’s so bad it’s good category” although taking a guess, I presume not. your review is very similar to Kermodes in your derision of this tosh.

    I, however, would never dream to judge a film without having seen it, so I will let you know my thoughts when I see it. However, although reading your review will not affect my thoughts on whether to see it or not, it will however, affect where it sits on my “list of things to watch” so is on its way to the bottom!

    Do me a favour and let me know one thing though, is it as bad as Die Hard 5? (A Good Day to never watch a Die Hard film again)

    1. Take a film like Machete which is really over the top and some may say is a “bad” film – that to me was a great film full of invention and mischief. The follow-up Machete Kills was a bad film – so bad it was good! Likewise Peter Jackson’s Bad Taste and Dead Snow and Raimi’s Crimewave – I’m sure there are many more….

      3 Day’s To Kill is just Die Hard 5 bad – but not as bad as Costner is actually really trying and the action stuff is okay! And I’m actually not that demanding really. I enjoyed Taken 2 even though that was pretty stupid.

      1. RED 2 was like that for me, I enjoyed it and thought I wouldn’t, and I liked it because it just didn’t take itself to seriously. It was clearly saying “We are having Fun” and it was supposed to be a bit silly and I guess the concept of the old and Greys doing the shooting meant they could take the p*ss out of themselves.

        Gaz has a small issue with it though, in only that it goes to demonstrate how even a silly “FUN” film can have quality and fantastic effects/gun battles/blowing up…whereby actual serious action films mess it up!

        I loved Machete, not seen the second one. Crank was in the same light. Mental but I love it!

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