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3 Days to Kill

Sometimes a very likeable actor or two can carry predictable material into something much more than you think possible. That's certainly the case with Kevin Costner and his latest thriller, 3 DAYS TO KILL.

Costner has screen presence to burn as career secret agent Ethan Renner. Taking a crack at the type of role that has changed Liam Neeson from aging actor to action hero in "Taken" and "Non Stop", Costner carries the film on his back by sheer will.

In the first few minutes of the film, Ethan survives a complicated and failed mission that manages to set up all the bad guys and inform you, along with Ethan, that he is dying of cancer and has 3 months to live.

Ethan is overwhelmed with the urge to reconnect with his teenage daughter Zooey (the always terrific Hailee Steinfeld from True Grit) and his ex wife Christine, played well by Connie Nielsen.

Predictably, the CIA comes calling for one last big mission in the form or gorgeous super agent Vivi Delay, played by Amber Heard.

So first, the bad news.

1. If you take a chance to look TOO hard, you realize this is pretty predictable. I had the "big plot twist" at the end figured out at least a half hour before the reveal.

2. Amber can't act her way out of a paper bag, but she could probably wear one and look amazing.

3. Anytime the screenplay's characters are named Ethan Renner and Vivi Delay, the warning flags are already going off that it might not be writing for the ages.

4. The film is directed by McG, who I tend to either like a lot (Terminator Salvation) or run from (Charlie's Angels).

But you have to hand it to McG here as he, Costner, Steinfeld and the stunt crew are here to deliver and they hit the mark.

There are plenty of good action sequences throughout Europe and Paris and the film moves at a great pace.

It's not very original, it's very sappy in parts and the entire subplot of Vivi offering Ethan an experimental drug that may cure his cancer if he does one last mission seems to constantly slow down the action when it hits its peak, but damned if this isn't a pretty good action flick!

Costner is terrific throughout. The dude is still a movie star.

If you have some time to kill and have nothing serious in mind, 3 DAYS TO KILL will entertain you in great style. It's fast, fun, brainless and enjoyable. We'll give it a surprising B.

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