3 Days to Kill Blu-ray Review
Whether portraying a professional athlete, serial killer, adoptive parent to the world’s greatest super hero or an aging spy with a proficiency in target elimination in 3 DAYS TO KILL, Kevin Costner’s ability to strip down a character to its most relatable form has always been his marquee talent. But as the Academy Award winner transitions into the latter stages of his career, he does not appear to be satisfied with mere father figure/mentor type-casting. Costner seems to be attempting to mimic a particular set of skills from Liam Neeson by pumping up his “bad ass” credibility after age 55. He may not have the innate “stone-cold” presence to accomplish what Neeson has, but Costner’s decided edge is the ability to shrink egos and translate the “everyday” personalities of characters with extraordinary occupations.
Ethan Renner (Kevin Costner, MAN OF STEEL) is a seasoned CIA agent who has always put his work ahead of family. After he is diagnosed with a terminal illness the realization of the sum of time he’s forfeited with his estranged teenage daughter Zooey (Hailee Steinfeld, TRUE GRIT) and ex-wife whom he’s still in love with, hits him all at once. While attempting to reconnect and make the most of his remaining few months, he’s approached by Vivi (Amber Heard, DRIVE ANGRY) a “top shelf” agent who needs him for a mission due to his past experience with a high-profile target. In exchange for un-retiring, Vivi presents Ethan with an experimental drug that may be able to considerably lengthen his life. Now Ethan must try and balance a covert operation with his promise to give up life as a spy and “be there” for his family.
3 DAYS TO KILL is not going down as a top 10, 20 or 50 all-time action film, nor will it be included in any montages preceding inevitable Kevin Costner lifetime achievement awards. The plot points concerning the antagonist and triggers of action are uninteresting and easily forgotten. In fact, the entire reason why Vivi even needs Ethan at all is so muddied and poorly thought out that it’s not even worth hitting the rewind button on your remote. The film quickly transitions from a story about a spy on a top secret mission while trying to reconnect with his family, to an estranged father trying to reconnect with this family while still trying to be a spy on a top secret mission. Until near the end of the film, which actually culminates in a surprisingly entertaining climax, all of the super spy, high-octane scenes come off as superfluous and crowbarred into the more intimate and ultimately more relevant family storyline.
The action sequences in 3 DAYS TO KILL do have their moments of glory, some of it is even unique, but like the drug that Vivi provides Ethan, the acting between Costner and Steinfeld is what extends the life of this film. Costner not only pulls off an aging spy who looks and sounds like his days are numbered with each raspy word and gravel laden breath that he takes, but his angst as a father is what rings deafeningly true. Even though few can relate to not being around for years because they were out saving the world, every parent can identify with failing their children in some way, shape or form. And the tension created by Costner and Steinfeld ironically brings out levity that grounds the music video type stylization from director McG (THIS MEAN WAR) and offsets the meaningless spy generated plot points.
3 DAYS TO KILL BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: 1080p/AVC MPEG-4, 2.40:1 Widescreen: 3 DAYS TO KILL is typical of your modern day action HD transfer. Contrast is high, black levels are very “inky” and sharpness is excellent. In addition though, skin pigment and hue are rendered very nicely, something that can be easily overlooked when shooting a stylized action films.
Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1: The audio track is equally impressive as the video as effects range across the channels. Subtle sounds and dialogue are treated with just as much respect as the high end pyrotechnics, so when guns are blazing and cars are exploding, you don’t have to crank your sound to 9.9 just so you can hear the character’s lines.
Extended Cut: This is an extended cut of the film which runs about 5 minutes longer than the theatrical release.
The Making of ‘3 Days to Kill (10 min.): Director McG and cast members partake in the industry standard template behind-the-scenes featurette. Nothing really insightful here, just the standard off-camera comments to try and make the production seem more interesting.
McG’s Method (4 min): Director McG discusses his style of shooting and why he found the script to be interesting. Other cast and crew also speak about McG’s process and why they like working with him. Again, not much insight and can be safely skipped.
Covert Operation (5 min): Retired CIA agent Bob Baer speaks about his experience working as a real-life spy. There’s not much coloration to Costner’s character in the film, but it’s still an entertaining feature.
Sneak Peeks (16 min): Multiple movie trailers, including: DEVIL’S DUE, THE BRIDGE: SEASON 1, THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL, DOM HEMINGWAY.