In his role as producer and scriptwriter, Luc Besson churns out another testosterone-fuelled action-thriller to complement The Transporter, Taken and Brick Mansions.
Like those pictures, 3 Days To Kill splices a preposterous plot with explosive set pieces and offbeat humour, casting Kevin Costner as a former CIA agent who is wooed back into active service in the final months of his blood-stained life.
Besson’s script, co-written by Adi Hasak, is crudely and clumsily constructed, and peppered with scenes of staggering implausibility.
For example, the gun-toting hero’s daughter enjoys her first kiss at a society party, completely oblivious to the deafening booms and crashes of a shootout downstairs.
And when Costner’s assassin-for-hire shunts a bad guy’s car off a Parisian bridge, extras in the background go merrily on their way as if high-speed collisions are an everyday occurrence in the French capital.
As the title suggests, the film unfolds in a restricted timeframe, which should heighten suspense.
Instead, it increases the likelihood of unintentional hilarity.
Costner’s absent father teaches his daughter how to ride a bike and slow dance in a single afternoon.
Elite CIA operative Ethan Renner (Costner) is involved in a high-profile oepration to capture The Albino (Tomas Lemarquis), henchman of notorious arms trafficker The Wolf (Richard Sammel).
The plan goes badly wrong and Ethan regains consciousness in hospital and is told that he is riddled with cancer and has, at most, five months to live.
‘I suggest you put your affairs in order,’ coldly explains a doctor.
Consequently, Ethan heads to Paris to reunite with his wife Christine (Connie Nielsen) and daughter Zooey (Hailee Steinfeld).
Having promised Christine that he will never work for the agency again, Ethan receives a visit from vampy CIA assassin Vivi (Amber Heard), who presses him back into service.
‘In exchange for your cleaning services, I would offer you an experimental drug,’ she coos, injecting him with a serum that could give Ethan a few more precious months with his loved ones.
3 Days To Kill bores and bemuses in equal measure as Costner struggles to conjure emotion that clearly isn’t in the script.
Heard is a clothes horse, who pouts and preens in skin-tight outfits on killer heels that would surely impede her ability as a hit woman.
Director McG orchestrates breathless action sequences but there’s no fluidity between scenes and a prominent subplot involving a family of squatters in Ethan’s flat, whose rights are protected by French law, is cloying to the point of absurdity.
Sharp changes in tone from sadistic violence to humour are disorienting and the running time feels uncomfortably longer than two hours.