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‘Marshall’ director tackles Costner in ‘3 Days to Kill’

By Staff | Feb 27, 2014

Don’t take my word for it. I have a prejudice that favors director McG after his superbly sensitive direction of “We Are Marshall.” He encourages and challenges his actors and crew to do their best. And, he recognized the sacred fragility of the plane crash when shooting in Huntington.

Since then his big screen directorial efforts have been “This is War” and “Terminator 3.” McG’s small screen resume is endless.

The man who’s initial break came with the big screen adaptation of three beautiful women as private investigators (“Charlie’s Angels”), has his serious action and moderate comedy hat firmly implanted for “3 Days to Kill.” A master of mixing genres, Kevin (“Hatfields and McCoys”) Costner plays a CIA agent dying of cancer. Off to Paris to seek repentance from his former wife (Connie Nielsen) and daughter (Hailee Steinfeld) for a lack of quality time, he encounters a CIA siren (Amber Heard) offering him an experimental cure in exchange for (you guessed it) turning back into an assassin.

Replete with blazing guns and bloodied bodies, McG counterbalances Costner’s CIA activity against his Mr. Mom attempts to win back the admiration of his daughter, Zoey. The director has an awesome sense of ironic humor planting Costner in the principal’s office with his daughter. She’s been flagged for punching a student in the nose. The principal lectures about violence. Costner’s mostly straight faced non-response brings intended muffled chuckles.

Obviously, his kid will somehow become entangled in a “Taken” -like situation, but the swerving from car chases and resultant smashes to teaching Zoey how to dance or ride a bike brings both merriment and warm fuzzy emotions.

Again, don’t take my word. Audience members nodded affirmatively in their like for the movie. McG’s still got his “in-development” style – mixing action with strong character development – even as he (like every other director) relies on standard devices with a decidedly challenging twist, i.e. saving the world versus showing up on time for lunch with his daughter.

Costner’s Jason Bourne/James Bond family man could stand a few female perspective lessons, but, he’s dodging fists, bullets and vehicles, so that’s not really a time for assuring political and gender correctness. At the risk of a chauvinistic brand, I’ll defend Costner’s method of breaking up an impending sexual assault of his glitzy daughter at a rave on a school night. She’s admitted to lying a lot, so his taking her home is a neutral reaction, not a victim indictment, to what had the potential of scarring Zoey for life.

Costner’s gifted acting fills in awkward moments, while eye candy Ms. Heard (“Machete Kills,” “Pineapple Express,” “Playboy Club”) delivers the ultimate strong, demanding, and my-way-or-no-way female character. Steinfeld offers stubborn teen resentment and rebellion and Nielsen mostly displays an understanding heart.