3 Days to Kill (Blu-ray) (2014)

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Released 27-Jun-2014

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Featurette-(4:35) McGee's Method
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-(9:54) Making of
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-(5:07) Covert Operations
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2014
Running Time 122:18
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By McG

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Kevin Costner
Hailee Steinfeld
Amber Heard
Connie Nielsen
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI $29.95 Music Guillaume Roussel

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures Yes
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, Twelve minute action prologue.

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Plot Synopsis

     Kevin Costner is one of the few enduring stars of recent past decades. Only a few years ago, however, it seemed as though the fire had gone out. Then in 2012 along came Hatfields and McCoys, the TV mini-series produced by and starring Costner, which pulled in viewers in record breaking numbers and won for Costner both an Emmy and a Golden Globe for his performance. This year we have already had the cinema release of three films featuring Costner. There was the small role in Jack Ryan : Shadow Recruit, followed by four leading roles : 3 Days to Kill, Draft Day, the trailer of which is at the beginning of this disc, Black and White, which is in post-production, and the currently shooting McFarland, yet another sports themed Costner movie. The first of these, 3 Days to Kill, comes to us this week via Roadshow and its star is the main reason to see this film.

     This latest offering from director McG (Charlie's Angels) has a screenplay from Adi Hasak (From Paris with Love) and Luc Besson, writer of Taken and director of The Fifth Element. If you look back through the credits of Besson it is fairly obvious that he contributed more to this film than just to provide the screenplay. The film attempts to mix genres - that in itself is in danger of becoming a cliché - and as a result the main thriller thrust of the film is weakened. That's not to say that some of the detours of the script aren't enjoyable, but these diversions weaken the cinematic core of the film. Possibly to give more cohesion to the screenplay, the device of a coincidence is introduced near the end of the film which is totally ludicrous. The basic premise is that we have a successful CIA assassin, Ethan Renner (Kevin Costner), who, while in hospital recovering from a gunshot wound, is diagnosed with only three months to live. A beautiful CIA agent, chameleon-like Vivi Delay (Amber Heard) offers Ethan an experimental drug which will possibly save his life in return for one last assignment, to kill The Wolf, "the most dangerous terrorist this world has ever faced". To this basic thriller premise the screenplay adds elements of a romantic comedy in Ethan's attempts to rekindle the flame with his ex-wife, Christine (Connie Nielsen). In this mode Ethan attempts to reconnect with estranged teenage daughter Zoey (Hailee Steinfeld), which also brings the newly concerned dad into conflict with the slightly older student boyfriend, Hugh (Jonas Bloquet). We also have the added element of social commentary with the plot thread involving the squatter family led by father Jules (Eriq Ebouaney), who comes complete with grandmother, young son and pregnant daughter, all of whom have taken up residence in Ethan's Paris apartment while he was recovering in hospital. Conflicts, both dramatic and comic, abound, and Costner handles it all with great style. Repeatedly - undoubtedly too often - the writers have Ethan in the middle of some violent act, only to be interrupted by the ringtone of his daughter with her latest teenage crisis. All of this is enjoyable, with the star rarely off screen, and fine performances all round. Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit), Connie Nielsen (Gladiator) and Amber Heard (The Rum Diary) are a formidable trio of female talent, and each in turn works extremely well with the charismatic Costner. The chief villain, The Wolf, is played extremely well by Richard Sammel (Inglourious Basterds) but it is his henchman, The Albino, who wins the baddie stakes. In this role Tomas Lemarquis is riveting. This is the best villain I have seen for many years and I look forward to his participation in the upcoming Snowpiercer. All of the minor roles are played extremely well, even if the numerous diversions might have us wondering where the main plotline has gone. The film looks tremendous, with gorgeous widescreen photography of some unusual Paris locales. The action sequences are genuinely exciting, there are good chases, on foot and on four wheels, with extensive participation from the star. I never once spotted a stand-in.

     There is a lot to enjoy in the hearty meal served up by this movie, though you might wish there weren't so many side dishes. At the centre of it all is the still decidedly dishy Kevin Costner. The actor turns sixty next January, and, when the film's usually scruffy character scrubs up to please his daughter, his suited entrance is greeted by a "Wow" from his on-screen ex and daughter. Many in the audience will be echoing this sentiment. It's good to see Kevin Costner back where he belongs, on the big screen and in such fine form.

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Transfer Quality


     Here from Roadshow is another beautiful Blu-ray transfer. The image is sharp and crystal clear from the first frame. The twelve minute pre-credits opening sequence is intentionally washed out and lacking in colour - with Kevin Costner's blue eyes leaping off the screen. Post credits there is far greater saturation of colour, and the rest of the movie looks great. Colours are rich, shadows are very detailed and there are no blemishes in sight. Skin tones are excellent. The 2.35:1 widescreen image is arrestingly beautiful at times, with some glorious use of Paris locales, and not the usual locations we see on the screen.

     Subtitles use white only, and are centred at the foot of the image, spilling into the black bar. A sampling found them to be very accurate.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


     There are two audio streams, English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Encoded at 48 kHz and English Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround Encoded at 48 kHz with the option of Descriptive Narration for the Vision Impaired.

     This is a terrific soundtrack, with one flaw I will mention later. The dialogue is clear with no words lost, despite the at times heavy European accents. Subtitling the French accented English was unnecessary. The dialogue is front and centred, but in the action sequences there is extensive use of the surrounds, at times almost knocking you out of your seat. The sub-woofer is extensively employed for effects as well as for the music. There are a number of catalogue recordings used, as well as the original score from Guillaume Roussel (TV's Crossing Lines), which employs a large symphony orchestra. This is an extremely dynamic soundtrack.

     Now the problem. European film-makers have notoriously been responsible for some poor looping of their films. There are a number of instances in this movie where individual words have been substituted between photography and the looping of the dialogue. In a couple of instances we hear dialogue and the actor's mouth isn't even moving. These lines were obviously added as an afterthought. Director McG, in the featurettes, enthuses about the French approach to filmmaking. This is one aspect of European films he should have been at pains to avoid.

     The Descriptive Narration for the Vision Impaired is delivered in the customary manner by a male narrator.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


     The trio of featurettes combine for a total of twenty minutes of "making of" extras, which is rather meagre but mildly enjoyable. All are in excellent 1080p quality.


     The menu screen is one of the more interesting encountered recently. It begins with multiple screen inserts with a multitude of live-action scenes from the film, culminating in artwork of Kevin Costner and one insert screen containing a montage of scenes from the film. Music from the original score is heard throughout all menu functions.

McG's Method (4:35)

     Nothing surprising here. As usual we get everyone else praising the director, while he in turn praises everyone else. With a mixture of scenes from the film at 2.35:1, and interview and behind-the-camera footage at 1.78:1, we have contributions from McG, Kevin Costner, his three leading ladies plus members of the French crew. As in the film, heavily French accented English is sub-titled. McG does comment on his immersion in French filmmaking techniques, which probably accounts for the poor looping in some scenes of the film. It is good to see a generous amount of genuine behind-the-camera footage.

Making of 3 Days to Kill (9:54)

     More here as in the previous featurette, with the emphases on the three femmes in the cast and the Paris locations. A generous amount of behind-the-camera footage once again adds to the enjoyment of what is offered.

Covert Operations (5:07)

     This third offering is a little different. With former CIA operative Bob Baer as the talking head we hear how difficult, or impossible, it was for him as a CIA agent to maintain a "normal" family life. The ratio mix is as before.

Startup Trailers

     Transcendence (1:32): 2.40:1 / 1080p, Draft Day (2:26): 2.40:1 / 1080p and Escape from Tomorrow (1:04): 1.78:1 / 1080p.


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R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     The local release misses out on Spanish subtitles.


     This new film from Kevin Costner is a CIA thriller with some terrific action sequences. There are also numerous sub-plots which tend to weaken the dramatic thrust of the film. However, there is a lot here to enjoy. The three leading ladies are excellent, there is family drama, comedy, exciting chases - genuinely exciting chases - and the Paris locales are gorgeous. Most importantly, though, Kevin Costner is terrific. Looking every inch the star and centre screen from beginning to end, he is a pleasure to watch. The disc looks and sounds great - with one minor audio distraction. Three short, but enjoyable, making-of featurettes are the extras.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Garry Armstrong (BioGarry)
Thursday, July 03, 2014
Review Equipment
DVDSONY BLU RAY BDP-S350, using HDMI output
DisplaySamsung LA55A950D1F : 55 inch LCD HD. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS777
SpeakersVAF DC-X fronts; VAF DC-6 center; VAF DC-2 rears; LFE-07subwoofer (80W X 2)

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