CIA Agent Ethan Renner (Costner), after a failed assignment to capture master terrorist mastermind "The Wolf", realized he's been diagnosed with a fatal disease with only a few months to live. Deciding to spend the last moments of his life with his estranged wife Christine (Nielsen) and daughter Zooey (Steinfeld), Ethan is inevitably dragged back into the assignment of hunting down the Wolf in exchange of a possible cure for his diesease.
3 Days to Trope:
- Big Bad: The Wolf is the CIA's primary target.
- Busman's Holiday: Ethan, being dragged back into a mission while he's supposedly on a break visiting his family.
- Daddy Had a Good Reason for Abandoning You: Ethan left his family because Tina didn't want him putting her and Zooey in potential danger because of his job. Of course, he can't tell Zooey that because of the classified nature of his job and instead keeps it vague as him being an "international salesman".
- The Dragon: The Albino is the Wolf's right-hand man.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: The Wolf is killed, Ethan makes amends with his family, finally retires from his job, and Vivi continues to send him meds.
- Femme Fatale: Vivi.
- Gender-Blender Name: The squatters name their newborn girl after Ethan. When he points out it's a boys name, Jules answers no, it is the name of a man that didn't kick them out.
- Hidden Depths: In-universe, played for laughs. Trying to find Zooey after discovering she snuck out to party, Ethan finds an invitation to "Spider", so he figures his best bet to figure out what that means is asking Mitat's daughters. Mitats wife claims that they wouldn't know since they're good girls, only for them to hesitantly answer that it's the La Soiree House, much to their mother's shock.
- Mundane Utility: Ethan uses both Mitat and the Wolf's accountant to get advice on how to be a better father to Zooey.
- Off with His Head!: The Albino's preferred method of dispatching his enemies is to have their heads done in by a moving mechanism. He beats up Yasmin and drags her to an elevator shaft to have her head run down by a lowering elevator, and drags an incapacitated Ethan to the edge of a metro platform to have his head run down by the incoming train.
- Red Herring: The Wolf's partner turns out to be Hugh's father, and as the Wolf's men prepare to do a shootout on Ethan at the dance, Hugh leads Zooey away into a private room, which doesn't go unnoticed by Ethan. However, nothing comes out of it other than the two making out, so he's apparently unaware of his dad's association with a criminal mastermind.
- Skewed Priorities: Ethan is reminded of Zooey's birthday and tries to leave a message for her after the mission while still in the vicinity of the enemy. The bad guys figure out that the CIA is watching them and attacks them while he's midcall.
- Title Drop: Zooey describes Ethan's visit as being "three days to kill.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Both Tina and Zooey call Ethan out on being a workaholic that left them.
- Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: When Ethan gets incapacitated by his illness while chasing the Wolf and Albino, Albino decides to do his signature move of having Ethan's head done in by a speeding object (an incoming metro train) while the Wolf yells at him to just kill him. The Wolf is proven right when Ethan manages to muster up enough strength to move and throw the Albino into the train's way.
- Workaholic: Ethan has spent past several years working as an assassin for the CIA, leaving his family in the process. He confesses to Zooey that it took him so long to chalk up the courage to come back because the longer he stayed away, the more he felt guilty about finally coming back.
- Your Days Are Numbered: Ethan is dying of cancer.