3 Days To Kill, Pompeii – Movie Reviews
3 Days To Kill – PG-13
Release Date: Fri 21 Feb 2014
3 Days To Kill has a cold opening scene akin to a James Bond film where a complete action sequence occurs before the titles. By the end of that action sequence I was smiling – then I saw Luc Besson’s name in the writing credits. I love Besson’s writing, and this one is up there with his best. Having created successful franchises (Taken, The Transporter, Nikita) and some of my personal favorite movies (Leon, The Fifth Element) this movie seems like Besson having a blast with what he does best: killer action (an unbelievably creative PG-13), funny dialogue, humorous running gags (including a fourth-wall-breaking bicycle bell) and genuinely likable characters in interesting and endearing relationships.
Kevin Costner plays a burnt out CIA agent Ethan who is told he has cancer and months to live. He decides to try to patch up his relationships with his estranged wife and daughter, who are living in Paris. The CIA then offers him an experimental treatment to either slow down or cure the cancer on the condition that he earn it by helping them track down “The Wolf:” a dangerous character that so far only Ethan has seen. This results in Ethan dividing his time between tracking down The Wolf and putting in quality time with his wife and daughter.
A great deal of the humor in the movie comes from Ethan casually asking parenting questions of a guy that he also needs to squeeze for information about The Wolf. There’s also Ethan’s CIA contact Vivi (Amanda Heard) who shows up in one insane costume or disguise after another, meeting him everywhere from a strip club to an aquarium-walled bedroom. The scenes with her character are so ridiculous that you feel as though you’re laughing with the movie at how every time she shows up, the circumstances are even sillier.
I can honestly recommend this movie to just about everyone. If you like creative action, witty dialogue and situations that goes way above and beyond one-liners and interesting character and relationship development you will love this movie. This is a rare gem and a great time at the theater.
Pompeii – PG-13
Release Date: Fri 21 Feb 2014
Kit Harrington plays John Snow in HBO’s Game of Thrones. His character in this movie is so similar that they may as well call it “Snow Vs. The Volcano.” Oh, and this movie is a waste in pretty much every way.
Kiefer Sutherland plays the “mustache-twirling villain” Corvus and despite never being mentioned in the marketing for the movie is in as much or more of the film as Kit Harrington’s Milo. It is his Roman legion that kills Milo’s Celtic family in Britannia when Milo is a child, ending up a slave and eventually a gladiator. Sutherland employs a bizarre semi-lisping accent that fails to distract from the fact that he appears to just be Jack Bauer in spiffy armor. Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje plays a gladiator named Atticus and gives a great performance despite the material. Now as to that material…
Like Titanic before it, everyone who buys a ticket to Pompeii knows that the movie will eventually become a disaster film and this one is no exception. The worst part is that for all the character development, costumes and special effects – nothing can make up for the fact that this movie is mostly made up of what should be brutal hand-to-hand warfare and gladiator combat that is completely toothless. Yes, this is a PG-13 movie, but the lack of blood and amount of dodging the camera does to avoid showing swords causing damage is downright depressing. The sequences themselves are interesting and choreographed well.
I don’t know who this movie is for. History buffs who want to know more about the fascinating, true story of Pompeii with it’s macabre, preserved victims get nothing here. The unspeakably forced romantic subplot is thankfully kept at a minimum. Watching gladiator combat – a gruesome, bloody “sport” – removed of all consequence and bite won’t satisfy action fans, and the disaster itself, the volcanic eruption is a special-effects fireworks display of grey streaks of smoke on a black background. Watching it in 3D just makes it all the more dark and hard to make out. If an unrated version of this comes to home video it might be worth a rental, but probably deserves to be left unearthed altogether.