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Lost in confusion

Kevin Costner leads the cast of 3 Days to Kill, co-written by Luc Besson (along with Adi Hasak) and directed by McG, whose earlier work includes Terminator Salvation and the Charlie’s Angels series. A cross between Besson’s Taken and Léon: The Professional, 3 Days to Kill follows CIA operative Ethan Renner in an espionage thriller meets family drama.

Diagnosed with a fatal illness and forced into retirement, Renner decides to spend his remaining days in Paris, reacquainting himself with his estranged wife (Connie Nielsen) and teenage daughter (Hailee Steinfeld). But a conniving fellow operative (Amber Heard), with a wig for all occasions, makes him an offer he cannot refuse: one last assignment in return for a drug that will add months, maybe years, to his life.

Juggling the task of babysitting his daughter with tracking down dreaded terrorists, Renner finds he is more skilled at killing bad guys than at parenting. At a loss on how to tackle his own growing pain, Renner even seeks advice from those he is interrogating.

Costner huffs and puffs in the part of a supposedly agile and skilled killer. Heard’s smirking, supposedly sexy character is all the more absurd for having an unintelligible modus operandi. There’s also a bizarre side plot about a family squatting in Renner’s flat.

This confused tenor underlines 3 Days to Kill—sometimes cheesy, sometimes quirky and occasionally stylish. It does not quite hit the balanced note, bouncing haphazardly from family drama to action thriller to black comedy.

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