WORK

Kevin Cost­ner plays a bum­bling CIA agent try­ing to con­nect with his teenage daugh­ter in the messy new flick 3 Days to Kill

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - MOVIES -

and pro­duc­tion, it’s also about car chases and epic shootouts, tor­ture played for sadis­tic laughs, Paris lo­ca­tions and Peu­geot prod­uct place­ment.

Bes­son, who mor­phed into a pro­ducer af­ter The Pro­fes­sional and be­fore The Trans­porter, gives Cost­ner the full Liam Nee­son in Taken treat­ment, cash­ing in on a ca­reer of cool in a movie that moves al­most fast enough to keep us from notic­ing how scruffy, dis­com­fit­ing and ab­surdly over-the-top the whole thing is.

Cost­ner is Ethan, a vet­eran CIA agent di­ag­nosed with cancer. But his new con­trol agent, a vamp named ViVi and played to the stiletto-heeled hilt by Am­ber Heard, wants him to fin­ish one last mas­sacre – tak­ing out a nu­clear arms dealer and his as­so­ciates in the City of Light.

The car­rot? She has an ex­per­i­men­tal drug that might give Ethan longer to live. And that could mean more time with his es­tranged wife (Con­nie Nielsen) and the daugh­ter he barely knows, played by True Grit teen Hailee Ste­in­feld.

They live in Paris. The girl doesn’t know what Dad does for a liv­ing, or that he’s dy­ing. She prob­a­bly wouldn’t care.

“You might want to take some­thing for that cough. It’s re­ally an­noy­ing.” McG ( Char­lie’s An­gels, We are Mar­shall) stamps his sig­na­ture on Bes­son’s Euroac­tion vi­sion with run­ning gags.

“Dad” keeps try­ing to get his re­bel­lious teen to ride this cool pur­ple bike he brought her. Her ring­tone on his phone is I Love It (I Don’t Care), which al­ways goes off just as he’s about to rip off a guy’s armpit hair with duct tape.

Ev­ery­body’s al­ways try­ing to high-five Ethan, and the French, Ger­mans and oth­ers he runs into keep call­ing him Cow­boy.

Ethan’s clue­less about how to deal with a teen, so he’s al­ways stop­ping the tor­ture to ask one un­der­world guy (Marc An­dreoni, funny) how to cope, what to do, how “to bal­ance work and fam­ily”.

Heard, all lip­stick and lin­gerie, long eye­lashes and leather­wear, has lit­tle to do here.

Ste­in­feld’s Zoey is a bit of a drama queen, but not a car­i­ca­ture of one. She is one trans­gres­sion af­ter an­other, which Ethan seems loath to pun­ish and un­able to rein in.

Bes­son co-wrote the script, and he works in shots at ab­sen­tee par­ents, lazy French cops and a le­gal sys­tem that al­lows cute African squat­ters more rights to Ethan’s apart­ment than he has.

But that turns out to be a warm and fuzzy cul de sac, one of many in this movie, which veers from shock­ing shootouts to rank sen­ti­ment.

Ethan’s ill­ness is for­got­ten for long stretches, but Cost­ner, a hack­ing, weath­ered study in wrin­kles and vi­o­lence, never lets on that the whole af­fair is more of a lark than Taken ever was.

A canny touch is the old­fash­ioned split-screen open­ing cred­its, scored to the old R & B tune Old Man Trou­ble. It fits.

But hav­ing fa­ther teach daugh­ter to dance to I Want to Make It With You. Se­ri­ously?

Daft and sloppy as it is, 3 Days rarely fails to en­ter­tain.

From the bike-rid­ing lessons on Mont­martre to dopey in­ter­ro­ga­tion of the Ital­ian ac­coun­tant, in­ter­rupted for a mari­nara sauce recipe, it’s all part of the mad­ness of Bes­son.

It’s From Paris, With Love, fil­tered through McG and slap­ping a new stamp of cool on age­ing Os­car win­ner Cost­ner.

3 Day to Kill opens to­day.

Kevin Cost­ner as CIA agent Ethan in 3 Days to Kill.

Con­nie Nielsen

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