While this is certainly no TAKEN, it’s also way better than TAKEN 2, BRICK MANSIONS, THE FAMILY or anything else Besson’s company has put out in the last few months. Credit is likely due to McG, whose over-the-top style meshes well with the material. Rather than ape TAKEN’s grim tone, 3 DAYS TO KILL is just fun, with equal importance going to the domestic comedy-drama of former assassin Costner trying to bond with his bratty daughter, while also chasing down a terrorist. If anything, the emphasis is on the lighter family story. This is occasionally jarring, but it works relatively well throughout.
While pushing sixty, Costner looks great (which is weird as he’s supposed to be dying) looking dapper with a scarf and leather jacket, and a couple of sharp suits. He acquits himself well in the action scenes, although a gimmick of him falling unconscious anytime he has the baddie in his grasp is overdone somewhat. Despite a body count that’s easily in the teens, one thing that’s nice about Costner is how reticent he is to kill, with him going out of his way to spare one of The Wolf’s top men when he discovers he has a family and showing distaste when Heard’s sadistic agent starts executing bad guys for kicks. He’s got a bit of that old Bondian “he’s an efficient killer but he hates killing” thing going on. For his part, Costner seems to enjoy playing an action hero, and his chemistry with both Nielsen and Steinfeld is spot on. AMERICAN FLYERS fans will also get a kick out of subplot that has Costner biking around Paris and doing some nifty bike tricks he probably learned on the set of that movie. The only sore point is Heard. While she’s drop-dead gorgeous, she’s so comic-book over-the-top that she doesn’t really suit the film, with her dominatrix/agent stick wearing thin, although she looks sexy as hell in her different outfits.
PG-13 and Unrated versions: 3 DAYS TO KILL comes in both the theatrical PG-13 cut, and an R-rated cut. Having not seen it in theaters, I opted for the R-rated version. Not sure what was added, although you do see some nudity as an S&M show Heard attends, and an opening murder where someone’s head is taken off by an elevator is rather gruesome – certainly for a PG-13. The R-Rated cut also runs about five minutes longer than the theatrical.
The Making of 3 DAYS TO KILL: A ten-minute epk with lots of talking heads and not much else. Pretty run-of-the-mill.
McG’s Method: A short, five minute piece profiling McG’s working method. I’m usually not a fan, but it can’t be denied he does a hell of a lot better with the material than any of Besson’s other resident directors (like Olivier Megaton) would have done.
Covert Operation: This is a kind of neat featurette going a little deeper into the cloak and dagger world. At five minutes it’s pretty brief, but at least it’s not another full-on epk.