3 Days To Kill (2014)
Director 'McG', otherwise known as Joseph McGinty Nichol, has enjoyed a reasonably long career punctuated by disasters like This Means War, disappointments that include Terminator Salvation and downright clunkers such as Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle. It's a shame, because the former music video director has an obvious eye for visuals and good sensibilities for action. It's just that short of his first film; the hyperkinetic Charlie's Angels some 15 years ago, he hasn't really found a vehicle to channel his talents very successfully. However, in 3 Days To Kill, which just happens to be his lowest budgeted film ever (at just under $30 million), and coupled with Writer and Producer Luc Besson, McG finally seems to be suitably matched.
Despite nearly capturing an internationally wanted terrorist known only as the Albino (Tomas Lemarquis) in a foiled plot, CIA Agent Ethan Renner (Kevin Costner) has been felled by cancer, which has left him with a decidedly negative prognosis; only a few months to live. Ejected from the agency, Renner shuns his formerly nomadic life to return to his wife Christine (Connie Nielsen) and young daughter Zoey (Hailee Steinfeld) with his precious remaining time. Just as he begins to get his affairs in order, Renner is approached by sultry CIA agent Vivi (Amber Heard) promising an expensive and experimental drug, which could extend his life, in return for completing his final mission and bringing the Albino to justice.
3 Days To Kill has been knocked around mercilessly by critics, with the film now having the dubious honor of a 29% rotten rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Sure, the film is far from perfect, but I feel the need to break rank - I found 3 Days To Kill overwhelmingly entertaining; of the heavily salted popcorn variety. The hand of Luc Besson is more than visible, with much of the action harkening back to the likes of The Professional and Nikita.
Star Kevin Costner is of course an old hand at the type of material, but he sure looks like he is having fun. Hailee Steninfeld does an admirable job at coming around to her formerly absentee father. However, the highlight of the cast is the downright gorgeous Amber Heard, whose career seems to be on an upward trajectory. Every scene she is in instantly grabs the interest and keeps the film kicking along.
3 Days To Kill isn't an action classic for the ages, and probably resides midway on Kevin Costner's filmography, but for an infinitely entertaining Saturday night actioner, you can do much, much worse.
3 Days To Kill is encoded with AVC MPEG-4 compression and presented in the intended aspect ratio of 2.40:1.
Lensed completely in the digital domain on Arri Alexa digital cameras and finished in a 2K digital intermediate, I was looking forward to 3 Days To Kill being an example of the HD perfection, we've become accustomed to. Sadly, a few technical issues let it down.
For the most part, the image is clear and detailed, with many scenes showing evidence of color correction and heavy handed grading. Whilst this isn't terribly uncommon these days, it does take a little fine detail out of the image. The worst error of this transfer is undoubtedly the frequent examples of banding.
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The bitrate is kept sufficiently high, such that these really shouldn't exist, so I can only assume that the encoder hasn't been calibrated or has been produced in a rush. AVC encoding has reached a point where most of these issues have been massaged out of the production process, so their inclusion is certainly peculiar. But they are noticeable enough that I have no choice but to knock the score down a notch.
3 Days to Kill is presented in DTS HD Master Audio 5.1, at 24 bits.
This is more like it. This is an absorbing, superlative track that will truly rock the house. Whilst it might not be natively 7.1, if you have a 7.1 setup and engage pro-logic, it becomes an even more entertaining listening experience.
The track never ceases to craft a convincing surround presence, truly bringing to life the film's numerous action sequences which come to life with bombast. The subwoofer channel is loud and aggressive and takes no prisoners.
Roadshow's local disc mirrors the international equivalent, with a disappointingly small, but nonetheless welcome collection of extra features.
First up is the 10 minute Making of Featurette which is a little too promotional in nature ("Gee whiz, I loved working with McG - he's the best"), but does serve to show a little of the behind the scenes activity. The 4 minute long McG's Method shows the director lapping up filming in France.
More meatier is the briefer, 5 minute long Covert Operation featurette, which features a retired CIA operative discussing the lifestyle of working at the bureau.
Finally, we have two Theatrical Trailers.
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United States: The 3 Days To Kill (2014) Blu-ray retails for $19.96 at Amazon.
Canada: The 3 Days To Kill (2014) Blu-ray retails for CDN$22.99 at Amazon Canada.