The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 2014
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 117 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Kevin Costner, Amber Heard, Hailee Steinfeld, Connie Nielsen
Directed by: McG
Music by: Guillaume Roussel
Written by: Luc Besson & Adi Hasak
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: May 20, 2014
A dying CIA agent trying to reconnect with his estranged daughter is offered an experimental drug that could save his life in exchange for one last assignment.
In this heart pounding action-thriller, Kevin Costner is a dangerous international spy, who is determined to give up his high stakes life to finally build a closer relationship with his estranged wife and daughter, whom he's previously kept at arm's length to keep out of danger. But first, he must complete one last mission- even if it means juggling the two toughest assignments yet: hunting down the world's most ruthless terrorist and looking after his teenage daughter for the first time in tenyears, while his wife is out of town.
Kevin Costner plays Ethan Renner, a daring International spy with lethal skills and a hard-earned reputation for tackling the most dangerous missions imaginable. When is discovers that he has a terminal disease he retires from the game and seeks to build a closer relationship with his estranged daughter who is living in Paris with his ex-wife. In the meantime the CIA has targeted a ruthless terrorist and assigned their best operative Vivi Delay (Amber Heard) to complete the task. The only problem is that she doesn’t know what he looks like. Luckily for her there is someone who has seen him, Ethan. She approaches Ethan in Paris and makes him an offer he can’t refuse. Ethan reluctantly accepts adding his own conditions and finding himself forced to juggle his two toughest assignments yet: keeping track of his rebellious teenage daughter Zoey (Hailee Steinfeld), and hunting down the world’s most ruthless terrorist.
I am most definitely a Kevin Costner fan and have been for years. I have noticed over the past few years that he has gotten away from playing the lead in action films which is understandable. I was happy to see the trailer for 3 days to kill as it looked like he still had some gas left in the tank. I waited for it to come to Blu-ray rather than take it in at the theater. The script was co-penned by Luc Besson based on a story he developed which gave me a bit of hope. My reaction to the film is mixed. Besson blends several genres beginning with the central plot which is action based and revolves around Ethan, Vivi and the hunt for the terrorist. There is a secondary familial plot that revolves around Ethan and his attempt to overcome his estrangement from his ex-wife and daughter. Lastly there are subplots involving a family of squatters that have taken up residence in Ethan’s flat in Paris and Ethan’s newly formed relationship with Mitat an informant he uses to get him closer to finding the terrorist.
The script interjects humorous quips, staged situational gags and off handed levity that give the film more of an action comedy feel than I cared for. I liked the action set pieces and while certainly over the top they are slick and fun to watch. The elements of drama surrounding Ethan and Zoey were hit and miss feeling shallow at times and decent at others. The lighter side of their relationship worked better and provided a few chuckles. The relationship between Ethan and Vivi is probably the film’s biggest obstacle. The integration of and use of her character is poor. She literally does nothing but appear from time to time seeming only to interject flippant repartee, which left me shaking my head wondering why she was even in the film.
So the question is, did I like 3 days to kill? The answer is yes. It’s not an especially good film however it doesn’t take itself too seriously and Kevin Costner’s approach to playing the role coincides well with the multi-genre theme. Despite the poorly written character of Vivi I liked Amber Heard’s handling of her and Hailee Steinfeld and Connie Nielsen do the best with what they had to work with. McG knows how to direct an action film and the production elements are very decent. At the end of the day I found 3 days to kill to be a watchable popcorn flick.
The rating is for intense sequences of violence and action, some sensuality and language.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency effects:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
- *Low frequency extension (non-rated element):
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
3 days to kill comes to Blu-ray Disc from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 27 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 4 Mbps.
This is an excellent video presentation that boasts plenty of high level detail, bold use of contrast, natural colors and excellent dimension. Blacks are punchy with good dynamic range and discernible gradational highlights. Visual perspective in low lighting and darkened areas is estimable. The combination gives dark scenes appreciable depth. Images are snappy, clearly drawn, eye catching and perfectly suited for the source material. Any softening is innate and strictly limited to the film’s visual style.
This 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack is aggressive and features an active surround mix that has extended dynamic range that positively renders the bombastic nature of the elements in the recording. The action based sequences transform the listening area into a three dimensional sound field filled via immersive surround activity that mates perfectly with the events unfolding onscreen. Low frequency effects produce deep resonating bass that rumbles with tactile authority that occasionally pressurizes the room. Dialogue is reproduced with lucid expression and exacting clarity that imparts just the slightest hint of sibilance in the upper registers. This is a wonderfully involving and dynamically rewarding sound design that features high level sonic detail, superb directional correlation and rhythmically charged bass extension. My advice is to crank this one up, sit back and enjoy.
- (HD) The making of 3 days to kill – 10 minute featurette
- (HD) McG’s method – 4 minute featurette
- (HD) Covert operation – 5 minute featurette
- (HD) Theatrical trailer
- Bonus DVD
- Ultraviolet Digital Copy
3 days to kill is a stylish action film with an unbalanced script that waters down its thematic focus. Be that as it may I found it to be a fun and watchable popcorn film that rides on the charisma of star Kevin Costner. It comes to Blu-ray from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment featuring reference quality high definition video, an engaging DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack and fluff over substance supplemental material. This isn’t great cinema but it’s easily worth the price of a rental and a big bag of popcorn. Be sure to check your brain at the door and have fun.
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews
Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS4910 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6 Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV8801 11.2 Channel Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-103D Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (With Darbee video processing)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SVS PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package
There are some similarities but the two films feel very different. Taken is a more taught and distinctive action/thriller whereas this is noticeably lighter and lacking the same adrenaline.
Thanks for the review Ralph!
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I liked Mr. Brooks a lot too, 9 Stars out of 10. I think it tells a compelling tale and is one of Costner's best performances. In fact, I think Costner is really a good actor but seriously hurt his reputation when he was riding high with bloated vanity projects such as Waterworld and The Postman. Still, he was wonderful in too many other films to mention here. Forearmed with suitably low expectations, I expect I will like 3 Days to Kill just fine.
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Sure thing Frank. Be sure to post back after you've seen it...
Been looking forward to 3 Days to Kill for awhile now. Glad to hear it's a good overall blu ray. Thanks Ralph.
Ron, I didn't notice that the dialogue drew any inordinate attention to itself during my evaluation.
I noticed it too. It seemed especially obvious in outdoor scenes where the dialog should be partly masked by ambient noise; instead it all sounded like it was coming from a studio. I also felt like the sound mixer was a bit overzealous with the LFE.
For comparison's sake:
I am using a OPPO 103D, Anthem MRX-510 receiver, Sherwood Newcastle Amp (don't remember the model), and JTR Triple 8HT (L/C/R) speakers.
I'm thinking about picking this up on blu-ray because I like Costner, and all three of the female actors that you mentioned above.
Will post back after watching it...
It wasn't simply that the scene lacked sufficient ambient effects for an outdoor environment, I could actually hear the reverb of a small recording space. Unless they overdubbed the voices in a recording studio (occasionally done when ambient noise is too high) AND the recording studio had poor acoustic treatment, it could potentially be the sound mixer adding in artificial reverb.
Most recording studios have a LOT of acoustic treatment to absorb any and all potential audio reflections. The acoustic absorption creates an unnervingly dead acoustic space for those unused to it, but it's for the specific reason of eliminating the recording/capturing of any early reflections that will reproduce the 'sound' of the small recording space. The sound mixer/editor can then later add reverb effects to reproduce the effect of being in a smaller acoustic space etc., but it's currently way too difficult to correct/remove the effects of the early reflections if they're captured in the recording, hence it's better to eliminate them in the recording studio, then add back the desired amount if any, at a later time.
Outdoors, with open spaces, we don't hear these early and higher SPL reflections. Indoors, we're used to it. Hearing those indoor reflections in the soundtrack for this movie and the effect it has on the audio in what's supposed to be an outdoor scene is what makes it stand out and sound 'off'.
It's similar to how we can overlook a little bit of audio lag because we're used to hearing sounds slightly delayed from what we see when we're further away from the sound source, since light travels faster than sound. Video lag (where the audio slightly precedes the video) is much more noticeable because it never happens in real life.
Overall though, I found the movie enjoyable enough. Not great, but certainly light-years ahead of something like 'The Legend of Hercules'.
Last edited by djbluemax1; 06-12-2014 at 03:20 PM.
If you opt to check it out oz be sure to post back with your impressions afterward.
Nice use of LFE in several scenes.
After watching Jack Ryan, Veronica Mars, and this in the past week, 3 Days stands clearly above the other two.
Thanks for offering your thoughts GOLFVUE3...
I liked Kevin for some time ago, like where he acted as "postman pat". But after waterworld, I skipped the actor totally, until yesterday and them days to kill.
Paris footage was magical. But the movie was a horrible. Like putting some pigs blood into a too sweet milkshake. Two different scripts, an almost well done thriller / action and then that horrible part the family drama/ comedy. That latter part killed the movie for me it was, so ridculous bad written and so so acting. Like Why did they have all them western references, to Brookeback M and Wyatt Earp. Myself, I had to check wikipedia on that, I cannot fathom any teenagers in Paris would know these oldish movies now in 2014.
Thus, tonight I watched the magical Taken. A completely different animal, shot in the same city, the true reference how a really good action movie should be.
Ps. Reminds me of Robert Redfords return to the big screen lately. As a sailor. Another failed movie. Why cant Hollywood accept them old stars being just that, worn out and have them old ones as supporting actors "wise old men". Like in Shadow Recruit/ jack reacher, Kevin well in backseat, Chris Pine the star.
Sorry this one didn't work for you although if you're not really much of a Kevin Costner fan I can probably see why I suppose. Thanks for chiming in...
Plus, with all the cool action (humor style) there was also love, lots of it. ...Love with that family he was sharing his appt with, renewed love with his wife, and with his daughter.
Technically I agree with Ralph's score. Movie wise, I'd rate it even higher (that's my own score), one more notch @ 3.5 or even 4.0 (make that 3.75, right in the middle) for pleasant entertainment from a group of cool writers, including Luc.
Very happy to have this Blu in my movie collection.