Movie review: “3 Days To Kill”

3 days

3 Days To Kill

dir. McG

Release Date: Feb 21, 13

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Here’s a helpful list of questions a film studio should ask itself before greenlighting an upcoming project:

1) Is your film going to be directed by McG?

2) If no to 1, is your film the sort of film that you could reasonably foresee being directed by McG?

3) Could your film, in any context, be referred to with relative ease as a “poor man’s Taken?”

4) Does the plot synopsis of your movie make it sound like a movie that could easily exist as a fake trailer within another movie?

4a) Can the abbreviated buzz phrases “retired (insert seedy job) has to do one last job after swearing to leave the business,” “estranged parent has to mend fences with significant other and child” or “…only to have his private and professional lives dovetail before long” apply to your film?

5) Does your film include, in the year 2014, a subplot involving the doting dad at its center (Kevin Costner) being dickishly stern with his daughter’s (Hailee Steinfield) romantic interest, treating her as a complete moron incapable of responsibly making her own choices?

6) Is the gang rape of a teenager teased at any point in your film without any reasonable narrative value?

7) Are your protagonist’s most distinct qualities a lingering wet cough and xenophobia?

8 ) Is any of your plot, at any point, beholden to a hastily established deus ex machina that keeps your protagonist going while also conveniently incapacitating him at life-threatening moments?

8a) Will the aforementioned become an excuse to foreground trippy “hallucination” visuals?

8b) Will your protagonist ultimately overcome the effects outlined in 8a as needed by the story?

9) Does your film include a hastily drawn sexpot who exists solely to be attractive and provide unsubtle exposition as needed?

9b) Do you intend to cast somebody in the role who scarcely has a handle on how to effectively play a moll (Amber Heard) for the sake of making a winking reference to her real-life bisexuality?

10) Does your film offer the opportunity for you to work its title into the dialogue in such a way that its status as a double entendre becomes clear?

10a) Do you find this to be a clever moment?

11) Does your film primarily focus on people who are generally pretty awful at their jobs, despite the film’s insistence that they are the preeminent players in their given field?

11a) If yes to 11, is your film about people whose jobs involve silence, discipline, and efficiency as key tenets?

11b) lf yes to both, are your characters more or less effective at displaying the traits outlined in 11a than ninjas in 95% of films ever made featuring ninjas?

11c) If yes to 11b, is it ever acknowledged just how terrible these people are at their jobs?

12) Does your film consider abduction and torture ripe for moments of comic levity?

13) Does your film still think that Brokeback Mountain jokes bear any relevance?

14) Do you have a specific tone and style in mind for the film?

14a) If yes to 14, do you have more than one tone or style in mind?

14b) If yes to both, are you able to balance multiple approaches to the material in a way that will come off as coherent and watchable to an audience?

15) Do any of your lead performers exceed “suitably engaged” as a benchmark for the quality of their onscreen work?

If you have responded “no” to any of the above inquiries, you may wish to reconsider proceeding with production at this time. You may end up with 3 Days To Kill if you don’t.