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3 Days to Kill (PG-13)

Father knows best


A father with a particular set of skills. A naive daughter. An assignment in France.

It would only seem natural if a scowling Liam Neeson strolled into one of the opening scenes, draped in a black winter coat. But this is not another episode of “Taken.” There is no kidnapping. There is, however, quite a bit of retribution--dished out this time by Kevin Costner, back in a lead role for the first time since ... well, it’s really hard to remember.

Costner plays a government hit man looking to get out of the game after decades of slaughter. It’s not just that he is weary of killing for hire, mind you. He has also just been diagnosed with cancer, and it will likely be terminal. So he travels to Paris, hoping to reconnect with his estranged wife and teenage daughter.

The latter, naturally, has no clue about her father’s job. Nor is she aware of his condition, although she finds the coughing fits a bit annoying.

When the Secret Service requests that he take on one more assignment, adding that an experimental drug that may cure his cancer will be part of the payoff, the set up for “3 Days to Kill” is complete.

This is not a “Taken” knock off. It is, instead, a father-daughter comic drama, with a lot of action and bloodshed thrown into the mix.

A bit of a stretch? Perhaps--especially when you consider that Costner’s target is an arms dealer who specializes in nuclear weapons and its dangerous enough the world hangs in the balance (and is defended by what amounts to a small army).

It’s a difficult assignment, made more so by the daughter’s untimely interruptions. Drawing down on a bad guy while consoling, over the phone, a teenager in the midst of a bad hair day? Torturing an insider for information while taking a call from a girl dismissive of a new bike? Even Neeson’s character would crack.

As a film, “3 Days to Kill” has more in common with “Grosse Point Blank,” with more thrills, but the same aura of cool and a similar edge of warped humor.

Starring: Kevin Costner, Amber Heard, Hailee Steinfeld, Connie Nielson, Richard Sammel


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