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Is 3 Days to Kill a True Story?

November 30, 2020
3 min read

Directed by McG, ‘3 Days to Kill is a spy action-adventure that tells the story of CIA agent Ethan Renner (Kevin Costner), who is forced to retire from the agency after being diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. He returns home to Paris, hoping to spend the time he has left with his estranged wife Christine (Connie Nielsen) and daughter Zooey (Hailee Steinfeld). Unfortunately, his last target before retirement, an illegal arms dealer known simply as Wolf, is still at large. Vivi Delay (Amber Heard), an elite assassin working directly for the CIA director, offers him a deal.

If he agrees to kill Wolf for her, she will give him an experimental drug that can potentially extend his life. Having no other alternative, Ethan accepts. He subsequently embarks on a journey that requires him to balance his professional life with the personal one. When ‘3 Days to Kill’ released in 2014 it gained moderate reviews from the critics. They praised McG’s direction, Costner’s performance, and the film’s gripping plot. If the movie’s sleek espionage scenes have made you wonder whether ‘3 Days to Kill’ is based on a true story, here is what we have been able to find out.

Is 3 Days to Kill Based on a True Story?

No, ‘3 Days to Kill’ is not based on a true story. The film is inspired by a script that legendary filmmaker Luc Besson wrote with Adi Hasak. The script, in turn, is based on a story that Besson wrote himself. The film’s main storyline closely resembles the plot of the French TV series ‘No Limit’. It has been developed by Besson in collaboration with Franck Philippon.

The series revolves around Vincent Libérati (Vincent Elbaz), a French secret agent who quits his job after being diagnosed with a brain tumor and moves to Marseille to work on his relationships with his former wife Alexandra (Hélène Seuzaret) and daughter Lola (Sarah Brannens). Vincent is told that if he joins a clandestine spy organization name Hydra, he will have access to an experimental drug. After some consideration, he agrees to the terms.

In the course of the show, he learns that Hydra was created by secret services to bring down organized crime on the French Riviera through methods that are not particularly legal. Unlike in the film, where Christine knows what kind of work Ethan used to do, Vincent’s family is completely oblivious. At the start of the show, they think that he is a burglar alarm installer. They also don’t know about the diagnosis.

Ethan and Christine’s relationship is stuck in the same way as Vincent and Alexandra’s is. They are still in love with each other but don’t know how to be together. ‘3 Days to Kill’ also has some similarities with ‘Taken,’ the 2008 action thriller starring Liam Nesson, which was also co-written by Besson (with Robert Mark Ramen). In both films, a legend of the 1980s and 1990s Hollywood portrays a highly-trained spy, who is also a doting father.

Read More: Where Was 3 Days to Kill Filmed?

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