Action Movie Roundup: You Should Maybe See ‘3 Days To Kill’ And Under No Circumstances See ‘Pompeii’

3 Days to Kill (2014)

Here’s this action movie. It has an A-list star. Tons of action scenes. Smoking hot blonde in the trailer. It really ought to be good, but you know what? It really isn’t.

Kevin Costner is our CIA agent/hit-man – with issues. He wants to retire to spend some time with his family, but they keep pulling him back in – for one last job! He has to shoot this dude called The Wolf or The Albino or some such thing, because some fashion model in a Peugeot told him to. The hit-model is played by Amber Heard, who looks great, and acts like a fashion model who is in over her head.

But she’s not the big problem. 3 Days to Kill is trying to be one of those movies like Grosse Pointe Blank (1997) or True Lies (1994), where someone with an exotic job, say a spy or a hit-man, struggles with hum-drum family difficulties. This was a fresh idea in the mid-nineties, or roughly the last time Kevin Costner had a hit movie. These days it’s sort of a hack move – a Disaffected Teenage Daughter has become just as much a part of a hit man’s arsenal as a good silencer or a fast car.

And while those other movies had some fun with the juxtaposition of movie action and domestic drama, 3 Days to Kill just ekes a few laughs out of the situation. Instead McG directs a movie that doesn’t know what it wants to be, as Costner’s relationship with his daughter is played completely straight-faced, Costner’s spy work is played for laughs, and Amber Heard is auditioning for a sexy science fiction movie. There’s some nice Paris scenery, and the action scenes aren’t bad, so it might be worth seeing when it comes to cable.

Pompeii (2014)

Don’t see this movie. Not even in 3D, not even if someone buys a ticket for you. It’s a B-movie ripoff of Gladiator, with some (SPOILER ALERT) volcano action at the end.

Kit Harington is wooden as the gladiator hero. Emily Browning (the blonde babe from Sucker Punch) is quite fetching as The Girl. Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje is decent as the Best Friend. The weirdest bit of casting is Kiefer Sutherland as the fey supercilious Roman senator. Don’t they have entire schools in England teaching actors how to play that role? All the characters, from Britannia to Pompeii, speak in the posh British accent that was so fashionable in ancient Rome.

The 3D effects are decent, but if you are expecting a pyroclastic flow at the end of the movie, you will be disappointed. Apparently Pompeii was destroyed by flying bombs of rock, and not lava, as previously thought. If you want to see some good lava action, re-watch that one with Tommy Lee Jones and Anne Heche instead of this.

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  • Mojopo

    Thanks for doing the hard work! I had a question mark by Pompeii, and now I do not!

  • monica_nyc_i ain’t sorry

    All the characters, from Britannia to Pompeii, speak in the posh British accent that was so fashionable in ancient Rome.This is why it had to end with a stoning, not a nice warm pyroclastic flow bath.

  • Aw man, I was really hoping that Pompeii would be about how gladiator Jack Bauer stops the volcano. They should make that movie.

  • NoNotThatOne

    Pardon me while I don my pedant’s hat and strike your knuckles with my metaphorical ruler. Pyroclastic flow does not equal lava flow. Lava is viscous molten rock. A pyroclastic flow is a violent surge of super-heated gases, volcanic ash and rock. Sort of like being blasted with sand that’s been baking in an oven. That is indeed what happened to Pompeii. Not that it makes any real difference in this turkey of a movie.