Why didn’t they just call this movie 3 Days of the Costner? It’s Mission Impossible meets The Visitor (the story about squatters living in another persons apartment that turn out to be extremely adorable and teach you valuable life lessons). Speaking of Mission Impossible, even Costner’s character name is Ethan Renner (perhaps the last name will make us think of Hurt Locker and Bourne bad-ass Jeremy Renner). It should’ve been Liam, since this movie feels like one of his recent, old geezer ‘kickin’ butt and takin’ names’ type of movies (the screenplay was written by Luc Besson, who penned Taken). It was directed by McG, who did Charlie’s Angels and some other lame pictures (John Travolta’s From Paris with Love comes to mind, as well as This Means War).
It’s a shame, because Costner is mildly fun to watch, even if his character isn’t very likable. It’s almost as if he’s trying to relive his best decade – the ‘80s. A few weeks ago he was in the Jack Ryan picture, which felt like an ‘80s movie, with Russian heavies. This film has bald albinos and unseen bad guys named “the Wolf”. Oh yes, there are also the explosive gadgets that would fit perfectly in a James Bond vehicle. Even the unrealistic Amber Heard character – a high ranking, sexy CIA agent – has a bond girl name: Vivi Delay. Not sure why she’s driving flashy cars which could draw attention to her, yet always in disguises. But really, it’s not worth dissecting the plot, because it really makes little sense. It’s that story of the one guy promising he’ll finally be there for his wife and teenage daughter, but gets pulled into that “one last job” where everything goes wrong.
Hailee Steinfeld, who was amazing in True Grit, plays the teen that hates her dad. The vibe created by this movie was rather…creepy. And also predictable. Of course dad will burst in before she’s raped in a nightclub bathroom. Of course he’ll say he regrets not being there for her. Yes, yes, we’ll see the flashbacks of when he took her to the carnival. It’s strange when you can think of a movie doing these same things and getting it right (The Wrestler), and you watch this wondering if McG even paid attention to the McScript and McDailies.
There’s one idiotic scene where an Italian gangster is tied up in a bathroom, about to be tortured by Ethan. Of course, the daughter is having drama…which means his cell phone always rings at the most inopportune times. He will have to wait a few minutes before torturing him, but can first solve her latest problem – How to make a good pasta sauce. Costner hands the phone over to the Italian while he keeps the gun on his head and he nervously gives a recipe. If that sounds like a funny scene to you, you’ll probably like the movie. I was wishing somebody would’ve held a gun to the screenwriters head and demanded a decent script.
The movie is all over the map, although taking place with nice Parisian backdrops. That makes the action scenes nice to look at, the way they were in The Italian Job.
The humor in this was lazy, and the running gags all fell flat. I never once laughed when the cell phone rang, or a limo driver is continually put into the trunk before info is extracted from him.
The dialogue was also…strange. One example is Costner telling his wife (Connie Nielsen, who was great in Rushmore) “I love you like I love her,” in reference to their daughter. Or the teenage suitor of the girl being nervous around Mr. Renner, and while talking about soccer, states “I like to score.”
Costner growls at him while repeating the line, to the laughter of a few in the crowd that were easily entertained.
That doesn’t mean I was bored. A few of the shoot-outs and explosions were fun. I’m guessing most audiences will love it, and most critics will hate it.
It gets 1 ½ stars out of 5.