'3 Days to Kill' Combines Themes of Luc Besson's World

French writer-director-producer Luc Besson has created an entire industry by bringing American stars to Europe and turning them into action heroes in movies that oddly mix grisly violence with family values. His latest venture is 3 Days to Kill, starring Kevin Costner as a dying former CIA black-ops operative who's trying to bond with his teen daughter (Hailee Steinfeld) and ex-wife (Connie Nielsen) while also doing one last job in Paris.

3 Days to KillAmber Heard in '3 Days to Kill'

Besson's first foray into this odd genre hybrid was with Leon (aka The Professional) in 1994, starring a very young Natalie Portman as an orphan rescued and trained in the art of assassination by hitman Jean Reno. From here he turned to Jason Statham for the three Transporter romps, Liam Neeson for the Taken movies, John Travolta in From Paris With Love, Paul Walker in Brick Mansions (a remake of his French thriller District 13) and even Robert DeNiro in The Family. These films are so preposterous that they just about work as guilty pleasures, as long as audiences can overlook the vaguely obscene mixture of violence, innuendo and children.

More: read our full review of '3 Days to Kill'

And as long as the casts and crews don't take them too seriously. And 3 Days to Kill also reintroduces another of Besson's obsessions: the kinky femme fatal, played here by Amber Heard. Variations of this character have also been played in Besson movies by Anne Parrillaud (in 1990's Nikita), Bridget Fonda (the 1993 remake Point of No Return), Milla Jovovich (The Fifth Element), Zoe Saldana (Colombiana) and now Scarlett Johansson in this summer's next journey into Besson-world, Lucy. 

More: watch the '3 Days to Kill' trailer


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