“To be completely honest, I was kind of uneasy at the start of this movie. I was at a 10 AM showing. Normally these are pretty empty, save for the occassional elderly couple and one or two early rising hipsters. This showing was full. Not a sold out, no seats left kind of full, but a all rows have multiple groups of occupants full. I recognized a homeless guy who hangs around Davis and Harvard, and a few others looked (and/or smelled) like they could be his colleagues. I looked around the room after I settled in, and it took some searching to find another woman in the crowd. It was just weird, and didn’t bode all that well for the film. I’ve found you can tell a lot about the film just by the crowd. I see enough films that I sort of transcend demographic stereotypes, but I can see them present around me.
Anyways so the movie. Ugh. It felt like it was trying to be three or four different films at once, with no cohesion. As far as being an action film, it couldn’t decide if tonally it wanted to go straight serious, play up the levity (a la Die Hard), or just go over the top (like Machete). But the trite drama overshadowed everything else.
Lemme break it down a bit. Kevin Costner is a top trigger man for the CIA. Upon finding out that he’s terminally ill, he decides to retire so that he can reconnected with his estranged wife and daughter. Soon after he reestablishes contact with them, Amber Heard recruits him to get back into the game with the offer of an experimental cure.
So we have some scenes of moderate bad assery (lets face it, Costner is no Statham). But okay, he’s good at his job and shows it off well enough. Fine. Let’s throw in some humor with the silly ringtone his daughter set on his phone going off at inopportune moments. That’s fine. Well placed humor usually works well in action movies (again, Die Hard). Costner’s playing it fairly straightfoward. Then you add in Amber Heard, just off Machete Kills, acting like she’s still in that other movie. Way overdone, over stylized, over every \m/ top possible. It just did not mesh well. But given that McG was directing this, I can see how he would have been eating it all up and encouraging her to go further. Who cares that it doesn’t fit the rest of the tone of the film, she’s hot. That’s what he was prolly thinking.
You’ve got all that awkwardly gelled action mixed in with some cheesy family drama. Hailee Steinfeld and Kevin Costner tried carefully not to overact it, but the crap they were given was just so cliche. Somehow, I would still be drawn into it, until I’d take a step back and realize just how obvious it all was. And this is what dominated the film. Until abrupt switch to action. And then back to family drama.
I think there had been a lot of potential in the original idea. Luc Besson, the mind behind recently discussed The Professional, had a hand in it. But I think he let go somewhere along the lines. I think this could have been a Professional-ish mix of drama and action in more capable hands. I just don’t think McG was ready to handle something weightier than Charlie’s Angels.
Three Days to Kill – \m/ \n