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3 Days to Kill: a movie review

Kevin Costner, as Ethan Renner, holding a gun in a photo used for the 3 Days to Kill movie poster (Credit: Relativity Media) Kevin Costner was born to play scruffy roles.  The son of a welfare worker and an electrician, he grew up singing in the choir of his Baptist church.  After graduating from college with a degree in marketing and finance, he began working in movies.  His breakout role was in 1985's Silverado, where he played a fast-drawing cowboy.  Two years later he starred in The Untouchables and No Way Out.  These hits were followed by Bull Durham, Field of Dreams, and Dances with Wolves (for which he won two Academy Awards).  He has won an Emmy and two Golden Globes as well.

His latest movie is the action thriller, 3 Days to Kill.  Costner plays an aging CIA agent who learns he is dying of cancer, with only months to live.  He leaves the CIA and tries to reconnect with his ex-wife and daughter, whom he has not seen for years.  Then he is offered an experimental drug that may extend his life, but he must take one last case.  He spends the rest of the movie hunting an arms trafficker while trying to rebuild his relationship with his family.

Though Costner is his usual believable self in the movie, critics are not impressed with the plot: "3 Days to Kill uneasily mixes technically accomplished action sequences with an underdeveloped family conflict."  I agree.  The movie could be either a thriller in which the CIA agent overcomes enormous odds to kill the bad guys, or a drama about a dying absentee father who strives to reconnect with his family.  It felt as though I was watching two movies at the same time.

My interest in this review, however, is not the movie itself but a question it raises: what would you do to extend your life?  If you knew you would die before Christmas, but a new drug might delay your death, what price would you pay for it?  In 3 Days to Kill, Costner's character risks his life and deceives his family, unintentionally putting them in harm's way, to buy some more time with them.

Here's the good news: the price to extend your life has already been paid.  In fact, if you have asked Jesus Christ to forgive your sins and become your Lord, in that moment you received eternal life.  At the cost of his crucifixion, Jesus has atoned for your sins.  Now, "whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16).

There may be many reasons why you'd like to have more years of life on this planet, but the finality of death is not among them.  There is no afterlife in the movie's plot—this world is all there is, so being with those you love is the highest value.  But the movie is wrong.  Ten thousand millennia after this tiny planet turns to dust, eternity will only have begun.

John Donne was right:

Death be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so,
For, those, whom thou think'st, thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poor death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.

How is that fact relevant to your life and your fears today?

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