3 Days To Kill parents guide

3 Days To Kill Parent Guide

Don't go to this unless you have 2 hours to kill

Overall C-

Many years ago, Ethan Renner (Kevin Costner) chose his career over of his family. Now he has been given an opportunity to spend some time with his estranged daughter (Hailee Steinfeld) -- but the life and death nature of his job continues to threaten his chances for a building personal relationship.

Release date February 21, 2014

Violence C-
Sexual Content C
Profanity D+
Substance Use D+

Why is 3 Days To Kill rated PG-13? The MPAA rated 3 Days To Kill PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some sensuality and language.

Run Time: 117 minutes

Official Movie Site

Parent Movie Review

Usually, I’m a sucker for a story that shows parents trying to build better connections with their kids. In 3 Days to Kill secret agent Ethan Kenner’s (Kevin Costner) most important mission is to reunite with his estranged daughter Zoey (Hailee Steinfeld) who lives in Paris with his wife Christine (Connie Nielsen). Not surprisingly, his line of work isn’t conducive to maintaining strong family relationships, so when he suddenly reappears in their lives, Christine isn’t sure she wants to put the teen through the pain of seeing her dad come and, as usual, go again. She also isn’t certain she believes Ethan’s promise he has quit his day job for good—until he confesses the cause of his sudden change of heart.

Ethan has learned the persistent cough he has been nursing is actually lung cancer. He has, at best, five months to live. Having just endured a violent confrontation in Syria, the news sends him into immediate retirement and leaves him with an intense motive to renew family ties. Convincing Christine that he wants to be the father he never was, she accepts his near-deathbed repentance and decides to leave him in charge of Zoey and their French flat while she is away for three days.

And that’s where my hopes for any heartwarming potential in this movie turned cold. Family relationships (and family friendly entertainment) fall off the priority list the moment a mysterious black car pulls up after Ethan finishes walking his daughter to school. Inside is Vivi (Amber Heard), a woman who claims she is from the “upper shelf” of the CIA, yet looks much more like a femme fatale from a 1960s detective drama, complete with cigarette. Amazingly, without checking any credentials, our seasoned operative not only hops into the vehicle but also accepts her offer to inject him with a mysterious experimental drug that is supposed to cure his cancer. The fee for this miracle? He must kill one last man.

Was the IQ bar for CIA employees suddenly lowered?

Like Mr. Incredible, Ethan is drawn into the game and is soon shooting up a storm on the streets of Paris and driving like a madman down the sidewalks. All of this is interspersed with bonding father-daughter moments, where Dad advises Zoey on how to fix her hair, how to ride the ugly purple bike he has bought for her, and gives her dance lessons to prepare her for her prom date.

Riddled with both plot and bullet holes this script assaults its audience with copious amounts of bloody violence and serendipitous stupidity. Quick to shoot and ask questions later, this spy failed his Subtle Moves For Secret Agents class. And while we might accept that he can beat up and gun down possible criminals with nary a nod from the Paris Police, his use of similar force while attending to his daughter’s doings is a sizable stretch of the imagination. Arriving at a club he suspects is the whereabouts of his underage daughter, he shoots a bouncer in the foot after initially being denied admittance. Inside he bashes a few bad guys to a pulp when he discovers his drugged-up child in a washroom surrounded by leering men. (Vivi is similarly fast to fire—implying the CIA holds little regard for justice or even extracting evidence.)

Additional content of possible concern includes a scene in a strip club that shows obscured female breast nudity, another with female rear nudity and three sexual expletives (one in subtitles). Fortunately other profanities are infrequent.

Building to a bombastic conclusion, with what may be the most coincidental construct of any movie I’ve recently seen, this romp allows its hero to blast his way through any obstacles that might prevent him from arriving at the expected sentimental conclusion. My advice for prospective viewers would be to target a different title if you have 2 hours to kill.

Directed by McG. Starring Amber Heard, Hailee Steinfeld, Kevin Costner. Running time: 117 minutes. Theatrical release February 21, 2014. Updated

3 Days To Kill
Rating & Content Info

Why is 3 Days To Kill rated PG-13? 3 Days To Kill is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for intense sequences of violence and action, some sensuality and language.

Violence: The movie features frequent portrayals of gun, weapon and hand-to-hand violence, with little detail and some blood shown. Most of the violence happens within a flippant or comedic context. For example: a character (who represents the CIA) shoots a man bound to a chair at point blank range, an Italian man (with stereotypical crime connections) is held captive and abused, another man of Middle Eastern origin is repeatedly beaten and placed in the trunk of a car, and a character flippantly shoots an innocent bystander in the foot when he bars his admittance to a club. Other possibly bothersome depictions include a woman who is killed after her head is forced into an open elevator shaft, then severed by a passing car (impact not seen) and a similar situation when a man is poised to have his head removed by a passing subway train (the event is interrupted). A man is thrown on a subway track and hit by a train. A massive shootout, explosions and brutal fistfights occur. A character attempts to put another’s head in a meat slicer and later a hand is placed in a panini press. A character’s foot is impaled with a knife. A character beats up a group of men he finds surrounding and touching a drugged girl (it is implied the situation is about to escalate into a gang rape). A character attaches a large pair of battery “booster” cables to another character’s ears and tortures him with electricity.

Sexual Content:

A woman in a strip bar is seen topless (brief blurred breast nudity). A naked woman is seen from the rear while being tattooed. Sex is implied when a married couple embraces in bed, the scene fades to black and we see them in bed the next morning. A woman wears revealing clothing; in one scene she is shown in a very short skirt while standing over a man.


At least three sexual expletives are included (one in subtitles) in non-sexual contexts. At least a half-dozen scatological terms are used, along with some Christian expletives and other terms of deity.

Alcohol / Drug Use: A teen girl is drugged at a rave, and later is shown in a restroom surrounded by men who are touching her. A stylish female character frequently smokes a cigarette. A man accepts an injection of a mysterious drug (shown close up with blood effects). A character drinks heavily to counteract the effects of another drug he has been injected with. Social drinking is seen.

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3 Days To Kill Parents' Guide

What do you think the life of a real CIA agent is like? Do you think they would casually kill people as depicted in this film? (Can you imagine what those shooting sprees would look like on the nightly news if they did!) To learn more about the CIA and how you can get a job there, check this page and the links that are within it: https://www.cia.gov/kids-page/6-12th-grade

How do you feel about the mix of violence and comedy in this film? Does the comedy help to make the violence less disturbing? Does the violence make the comedy less funny? Should these two styles, with opposing emotional responses, be combined?

Home Video

The most recent home video release of 3 Days To Kill movie is May 20, 2014. Here are some details…

3 Days to Kill released to home video (Blu-ray or DVD) on May 20, 2014.

Related home video titles:

Other undercover operatives find their work interfering with their personal lives in Spy Kids, The Spy Next Door and the more-serious Breach.

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