The Next Three Days Review

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It’s time for another thriller, but this one has a few chase scenes in it. It depicts how an average joe can defeat homeland security when they put the wrong convict on the prison for life sentence. The cops were good…John’s better! It’s a fun film and one that does a good job of pacing itself as the title is well over 2 hours, but never gets around to dragging on. The plan doesn’t go perfectly of course, so both sides have to make some adjustments.

The film starts out with John and Lara having dinner with their “friends.” Their debate quickly becomes one about meta physical power and the tough work dynamics of having a boss. It’s a pretty painful conversation and one that would have felt right at home in Cloverfield. Luckily, those characters never show up again after the two main characters leave. Unfortunately, the insults may have shaken Lara more than she let on as she is arrested for murder later that week. John doesn’t understand how she could have been framed. Years later, it has become clear that nobody believes Lara’s innocence and she will be locked up for life. John’s only chance now is to break into prison and give her freedom. It won’t be easy, but he’s got a gun and is not afraid to use it! Of course, directly breaking into prison would not be the smartest thing to do so he targets the transfer like in the classic superhero films.

It was fun to have a cameo by Liam Neeson as well. He’s pulled off this kind of caper in the past after all so he lets John know the basics. You have to have a super convoluted plan at the ready involving which turns to take and how to get there. You have to have an exit ready at every area in order to dodge the cops. John’s plan is pretty well thought out. Should it actually work? Eh….No, but I appreciate the attempt. In a way, I’d say that he should have succeeded once he blended in with the crowd though. At that point, it was a little iffy that the cop happened to see him as he was heading down the stairs. John escaping the hospital in the first place was the tricky part though.

You’ve got a few dozen cops chasing you and nobody thinks to guard the main lobby? Hmmmmm. Well, beyond that and the fact that the main characters kept getting lucky with guards changing shifts and such, I’d say that the film did a reasonable job. It’s a little worrisome if the main characters had actually been villains, but I like to think that the cops in this film will have learned from their mistakes in this round.

Before the actual plan is put into operation, we do get a long flurry of scenes as John gets ready for this test. He gets punked after going into a shady neighborhood while trying to get some passports. It was definitely pretty realistic since you don’t get accepted into a place like that so easily. Especially if you’re flaunting money around since that will just get you a lot of enemies. John goes to an enemy stronghold and attacks it in order to get some money since he’ll need it for the operation. This part is only one that I would have cut out had I been the director. It’s meant to show that John will go all the way if necessary and while these guys were all villains, they helped to corrupt John as well. He went out of his way to try and help someone, but it was too late. John had increased his body count to two people. At least he was not so far gone as to attack a bank. That would have definitely made it impossible to root for the guy.

As it stands, the main character was decent, but I preferred the police agents. Had I written the ending, I would have had them capture John and Lara, but then explain over at the police office that they had finally caught the real crook. It’d be a happy ending, but with the police showing that they’re still on top of things and Lara wouldn’t have to live her life as a convict. The film came close to going down that route, but ultimately decided that it would be too cheesy and left a more somber finale. For the most part, the film played it seriously, but we did get some light hearted banter from the cops. The main agent was always pushing everyone as hard as he could so that they could make the arrest, but there was always one agent who would talk back to him. She had the crispy replies and made it clear that she wouldn’t be ordered around. They really tried their best, but it wasn’t to be.

John’s kid was easily the most annoying character in the film. His subplot didn’t really need to happen at all. He becomes friends with one kid and that kid’s mother tries to talk to John a few times, but he’s always a little too distracted. I believe she was only added so she could have a reaction as she realizes that John busted his wife out of prison. Beyond that, the whole subplot never really amounted to much. George (The kid) also turned against the mother very quickly and just kept to himself quite a lot. Any scene with him in it would always lead to stress for everyone else.

That being said, I can’t say that I like Lara either. I much preferred the friend’s mom as a heroine and it would have been interesting if she had stepped in to help with the getaway. Distracting a cop or something could have made for a small role. Back to Lara though. She’s just about as bad as George, but in different ways. For starters, she does try to destroy herself upon hearing the bad news, but even then she’s unwilling to go with John. Even once they are finally making it away, she tries to destroy herself again. Lara also does her best to try and get John to doubt her so he could stop trying to save her, but this plan doesn’t work. Prison can be a trying time so Lara wasn’t really in her right mind for the whole film, but at the same time she was definitely hard to like. All of the iffy moments just kept on adding up.

Films like this can certainly lead one to believe that circumstantial evidence is a bad thing, but always remember that for every case like this one, we probably have another few hundred where a villain has been put away using this technique. There is not always tangible evidence to put someone away and without having circumstantial evidence at the ready, a lot of people would get away. Unfortunately, innocent people getting put behind bars is nothing new in real life, but I like to think that it is a very small number relative to the criminals and naturally the justice system tries to improve over the years. It will never be 100% safe and perfect, but getting it as close to that as possible is the goal.

Overall, The Next Three Days is a solid action film. There are a lot of chases and I always like the mind games that are played between the main character and the cops. They keep on trying to stay one step ahead of each other and a few steps ahead of the audience. The writing could be a little trying at times and a few of the main characters were very unlikable, but the lead was solid. The main character from both sides turned out to be good and the chase scenes were solid. Once the fugitive makes it to open ground, it definitely gets a lot harder to stop him/her. It’s not a perfect film, but it’s a solid one and a good title to check out. You’ll stay engrossed throughout the adventure. The dog got to live despite the burning house so that was a huge positive in the film’s favor. Things could have gotten very dicey there otherwise.

Overall 7/10