Monday, 7 July 2014

3 Days to Kill (FRA/US 2014)

So what's the deal then, first up Liam Neeson started acting in action flicks and being this aging gruff wrinkled badass, now all of a sudden its Kevin Costner's turn apparently. Just like Neeson...Costner now has a leathery wrinkled face with a nice gentle tan, lots of greying white facial hair and an overall generally scruffy appearance...your average over middle aged man's action man look.

The plots sees a dying former CIA agent (Costner) hired by another top CIA female agent/assassin (Heard) to bring down an arms trafficker. The reason Costner is dying is because he has brain cancer that has spread to his lungs, hence why he has been dropped by the CIA. The reason why Heard wants to use Costner is because he is the only living person to see the bad guys face recently after a botched undercover stakeout.

Whilst watching this I couldn't help but think that I recognised the visual style and uber cooly shot assassin/hitman/espionage theme. I know we have seen this type of stuff many times before but it all seemed very much like a Luc Besson flick to me...low and behold it was a Besson flick! The whole sultry sexy hooker-esque looking femme fatale angle was very familiar and positively wreaks of Besson's brain at work. Amber Heard even looks like 'Nikita' in some scenes towards the finale, that's not a bad thing as she does look hot but its just unbelievably unoriginal as Besson does the same thing EVERY TIME!

Another pretty big issue was the fact the film just doesn't know what it wants to be. The whole thing has that 'Leon' vibe running through it as the main character tries to juggle his hitman/undercover agent life style with his wife and teenage daughter. Naturally his wife hates the fact he works, or did work, for the CIA and his daughter has no clue. Most of the film time is spend with Costner's character trying to be a good dad and make things up with his wife, lots of father daughter moments, heart felt moments, flashbacks to childhood memories etc...its all very schmaltzy in places. Problem is this feels like a mess as its interspersed with sequences of high octane action with a sexual undercurrent whenever Heard is on the scene with her pouting full red lips and tight outfits (yet she does nothing after promising so much).

So what is it? well its an action/assassin/undercover James Bond agent/slick espionage/drama/coming of age/teen thriller/redemption/comedy get that? Yep its got everything! thing is you don't want half of it and most of it is boring as hell.

I guess its down to the quite frankly laughable performance by a clearly seriously aged Kevin Costner who is obviously way too old for this shit. Yeah Neeson managed to pull off the wrinkled hardman act surprisingly well but unfortunately Costner fails at his first hurdle looking like he's about to collapse under the weight of his own ego. What made me laugh is the fact his character is meant to have this terminal cancer in his brain and lungs yet he looks fine! no problems here folks. On top of that the ridiculous plot notion of the Heard's character having some secret formula that cures cancer (or halts for a time) completely robs you of any suspension of disbelief. I hope Costner's character gets that stuff to the local hospital after all this.

So yes there are some nice plosions, car chases, fisticuffs and general espionage tomfoolery but who cares, we've seen this stuff a gazillion times over in far far better espionage movies...and crap ones. Naturally being set in France (Luc Luc Luc...shake it up a bit for Christ sake?!) all the lead cars are naff Peugeot's that somehow manage to keep up with top spec Audi's and all action sequences are set in stereotypical Besson locations...seedy night club, posh restaurant, posh club, the biggest seediest and most extravagant tattoo parlour I've seen, hotels and French downtown streets (I give you 'Ronin'). But as said this might not be too bad if it wasn't split up by lame ass sequences where Costner teaches his teen daughter to ride a bike, teaching her to dance, talks to her about boys, rescues her from yet another seedy night club, lots of heart to heart chats with the wife and daughter about being a better parent blah blah blah.

I realise the film is all about redemption and the main character becoming a family man again but Jesus...lets make up our minds shall we. Either you want a kick ass body count flick or you want a loving family man flick, while we're here it would be a good idea to decide whether the film is gonna be serious or just a daft light-hearted romp. At one point Costner's character is shooting an innocent bouncer in the foot in clear view of everyone! beating young men half to death in a night club and generally causing much death and destruction around gay Paree yet with no consequences at all...and its not half bad in a semi serious manner. The next minute he's got some bloke taped up in his bathroom ready for some torture and instead gets him to speak to his daughter about a spaghetti sauce recipe over the phone...oh the hilarity!

With the stupid little funny moments this could easily be one of those shitty Bruce Willis vehicles like 'Red' which tries to incorporate expensive big budget violence and laughs with an OAP in the lead. Bottom line we all know damn well this basically should of just been another Neeson vehicle, I guess Besson thought it best to change the lead OAP. Its pretty much Costner's attempt at the genre but unfortunately for him someone forgot to tell Besson to try and actually come up with something original and not constantly dissect and regurgitate his previous work.