The new action film 3 Days to Kill marks the return of Kevin Costner, leading man.
The Bull Durham standout has segued smoothly to supporting roles of late, witness his affecting turn as Pa Kent in 2013’s Man of Steel.
Hollywood wants him on the marquee again all the same. The film industry can use all the older alpha males it can get. After all, Liam Neeson, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone need a break now and then.
Younger action stars like Channing Tatum and Jason Statham continue to punch the clock, but their older peers offer something these actors lack. Gravitas, grit and a lack of P.C. niceties.
In 3 Days to Kill, Costner’s character, Ethan, is aghast when a family of kindly Africans squatters ends up having more rights than he does over his own apartment. Ethan doesn’t know his way around the kitchen, is baffled by the complexities of teenagers and doesn’t know how to dress to impress. Oh, and he could use a shave.
None of that matters so long as his aim is true when firing at the bad guys and he stands a fighting chance to woo the woman of his dreams.
Chances are a similar character played by Tatum or Statham could whip up a mean spaghetti sauce on demand and nail the right sartorial choices.
Neeson, who returns to theaters next Friday with the action thriller Non-Stop, joined the older action brigade when the 2008 film Taken became a shock success. Now, action movies are his calling card–who cares that he’s now in his 60s?
The calling card of today’s older alpha males is caring for their daughters. Neeson famously protected his grown daughter in two Taken movies, and now Costner is doing the same with Hailee Steinfeld in Kill.
Some of these older actors don’t always replicate their old box office triumphs. Escape Plan featuring both Stallone and Schwarzenegger was a dud late last year. Yet the film, and others like it, fared better overseas.
It remains to be seen how 3 Days to Kill will do at the box office this weekend, but it seems there’s still some appetite for old-school masculinity both here and abroad.