After botching the capture of international arms dealer The Wolf (Richard Sammel) and his henchman the Albino (Tomas Lemarquis), aging CIA assassin Ethan Renner (Kevin Costner) discovers he has a terminal illness. Washed up and pensioned off, Ethan travels to Paris to reconnect with his former wife Christine (Connie Nielsen) and estranged 16-year-old daughter Zoey (Hailee Steinfield), wanting nothing more than to spend some quality time with the family before shuffling off this mortal coil.

But his retirement is put on hold when slinky Agency femme fatale Vivi Delay (Amber Heard) makes him an offer he can’t refuse; she’s after the Wolf and, as Ethan’s the only one who’s able to identify him, she’ll dose him with an experimental new life-saving drug if Ethan gets her man for her. ‘Hilarity’ ensues however when, wouldn’t you know it, Christine has to go to London on business forcing Ethan to juggle caring for his belligerent daughter with beating, torturing and killing a variety of disposable bad guys as he closes in on the Wolf.

Knowing that there’s nothing audiences love to see more than an aging movie idol strolling around the City of Light battering seven shades out of dodgy foreigners, 3 Days To Kill is the latest B-movie action thriller to be crayoned by Luc Besson and sticks to the tried and tested formula he perfected with Taken. Hey, if it ain’t broke, why fix it? Slick, stoopid and more fun than it has any right to be, the film sees Kevin Costner doing a Liam Neeson as a terminally ill government Black Ops veteran coming out of retirement for that perennial favourite “the one last job.” It’s not subtle, it’s directed by McG for Chrissake, but it’s entertaining nonsense, McG reining in his frenetic, epilepsy-inducing style of filmmaking to deliver a film that’s almost coherent and, thankfully, bears little resemblance to his last outing, the eye-gougingly terrible espionage rom-com This Means War.

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The action scenes are fine with the opening botched takedown, a pulse-quickening car chase through the streets of Paris and a nasty bout of hand-to-hand in a deli particularly good and Costner and Heard are obviously having a whale of a time, Costner gruffly punching and shooting everything in sight and seeking parenting and cookery advice from his torture victims while Heard sashays through the film like Jessica Rabbit on heat in a series of eye-popping sprayed-on outfits. Visual Viagra, for Costner’s character she represents the glamour and excitement of the spy world, a distraction from hearth and home, a world he’s so tired of that when at one point he regains consciousness to find himself staring up Heard’s latex skirt, contemplating her vagina before asking “Am I in Hell?” Costner has obviously never seen This Means War.

The plot doesn’t make a lick of sense. Why would you entrust the capture of nuclear terrorists to a terminally ill spy with a tendency to black out after exertion (which Costner does several times)? Why does Costner keep taking men home, TO HIS OWN FLAT, in order to torture information from them before releasing them? Why does Amber Heard keep hanging out in strip bars? Probably because she’s Amber Heard. Why do Heard and Steinfeld have constantly changing hairstyles in every scene? Is it perhaps a method of holding McG’s attention?

Ultimately none of that matters, 3 Days To Kill is the cinematic equivalent of a trip to Maccy D‘s, satisfying at the time but instantly forgotten, the only thing noteworthy about it being that it reminds you just how good and how versatile Costner is.

Verdict: [rating=3]

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