It looks like we’re going to give "Kevin Costner – leading man" one more shot.
The trailer and poster for 3 Days To Kill just popped up online, the latest joint from McG (Terminator: Salvation). Following in the stellar tradition of Aaron Eckhart’s Erased and Nicolas Cage’s Stolen this appears to be an effort to re-frame an older leading man as an invincible action badass not unlike Liam Neeson in Taken, mixed in with a little Crank just for good measure.
Opening on February 21st, this Relativity release sees Costner as a suave international spy looking to get out of the game. But in movies, spies never quit, and his retirement is interrupted by a steely boss (Amber Heard, naturally) who injects him with a cocktail that ensures he’ll die in three days. That is, unless he completes one final high octane-mission, one that sees him pursuing an evil terrorist while also attempting to bond with his daughter (Hailee Steinfeld).
Now that we’ve seen the trailer, it almost plays out like two movies. The first half portrays this as a straightforward actioner, with Costner as the slick shit-kicker we’ve seen in thousands of these types of films already. Heard seems to relish camping it up as if she were still in Machete Kills and by the sounds of it, she gets to say the title out loud a few times. Costner, at least, still seems like the kind of actor that can convincingly ground these theatrics, though unlike Neeson and his ilk, it doesn’t seem like Costner lifted a single weight or ran even one mile to prepare for the action theatrics.
Of course, that second half of the trailer is where the dumb comedy starts, and it’s revealed that this isn’t some tongue-in-cheek genre re-invention, but a full-on goofball convention. Will there be moments where Costner has to do one lethal exciting thing while doing another, much more mundane thing? Is he going to burn breakfast because he was too busy torturing a henchman? Daaad! You’re the worst dad ever, Dad! Steinfeld deserves better, but so too does Connie Nielsen, so regal when we first met her in the early aughts, reduced to playing "the wife." The song in the trailer is Problem by Natalia Kills, a song that you can bet 100% that Kevin Costner has never ever ever heard, nor would he listen willingly.
McG’s a helluva talker, the kind of salesman you need to be to coax studios to part with their millions. This looks like a more modest b-movie than his last film, the deeply stupid This Means War, but the scale might be due to the influence of (oh hey!) Taken writer Luc Besson and his From Russia With Love collaborator Adi Hasak. At one point, you would have loved to see Besson tackle this sort of material, but after this year’s stillborn The Family, we’d have to say his semi-retirement didn’t do him any favors. Check out the new Kill poster. Will you go see this next year?