A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that 3 Days to Kill is another slick, lightweight action movie by writer and producer Luc Besson. Nothing is very realistic and nothing is meant to be taken too seriously, but the stylized violence includes lots of shooting and killing, with very little consequence. Some blood is shown, but the movie is not overly gory. There's also some comical torture to get information, and a brief suggestion of teen boys attempting to sexually assault a teen girl. Language is infrequent but does include uses of "f--k" and "s--t." Sex is suggested between an adult couple, and a teen girl passionately kisses her boyfriend. A naked female bottom is shown in a tattoo parlor. There is some casual background drinking and one instance of drinking to comic effect. Teens may be drawn to younger stars Amber Heard or Hailee Steinfeld.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
The CIA is on the trail of an international weapons dealer, called "The Wolf." Agent Vivi Delay (Amber Heard) is tasked to find him. Agent Ethan Renner (Kevin Costner) is also on the job, but lets a suspect get away when he passes out. It turns out he has brain cancer that has spread to his lungs. Moving to Paris to spend time with his teen daughter Zoey (Hailee Steinfeld), and perhaps to patch things up with his ex-wife (Connie Nielsen), he is contacted by Vivi; she thinks he can identify The Wolf, and if he helps, she can get him an experimental cancer treatment that could prolong his life. Unfortunately, his ex goes away for three days, leaving Ethan solely in charge of Zoey, who doesn't yet know the true nature of his job...
Is it any good?
Once again writer and producer Luc Besson has cranked out another second-tier, unpretentious action entertainment with a minimum of fuss. To be sure, 3 DAYS TO KILL is ridiculous in spots and downright preposterous in others, but it keeps up a brisk pace, throws in some exciting flourishes from time to time, and manages to cook up some genuinely sympathetic, interesting, and likeable characters.
Kevin Costner is a major factor. He is in great shape, but has developed the weathered look of a strong character actor. Amber Heard is also a great help; she's appealing to watch and portrays a bit of strength. Then there's former music video director McG, who thus far has not shown much talent in storytelling, but has at least shown a strong directorial hand at slick action sequences. That skill pays off here. Overall, 3 Days to Kill is an appealingly simple popcorn movie that doesn't take itself too seriously.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the movie's violence. What would be the real-life consequences of the violence that you see here?
What's appealing about a character that kills people for a living? Is he likeable? Is he a good role model?
What's appealing about the Vivi character? Is she a strong female character, or a stereotype?
How did you feel about the father-daughter relationship in the film? Is it realistic? What kinds of things did they talk about together? Did it inspire you to have a similar conversation in your home?
- In theaters: February 21, 2014
- On DVD or streaming: May 20, 2014
- Cast: Kevin Costner, Amber Heard, Hailee Steinfeld
- Director: McG
- Studio: Relativity Media
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Run time: 113 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: intense sequences of violence and action, some sensuality and language
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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