Criminal (5/10)

Criminal

The CIA's last hope is in the mind of a criminal

Overview

Bill Pope is a CIA agent on a mission in London tracking down a shadowy hacker nicknamed "The Dutchman." When he gets mysteriously ambushed and killed, an experimental procedure is used to transfer his memories into dangerous ex-convict Jericho Stewart. When he wakes up with the CIA agent's memories, his mission is to find The Dutchman and eliminate him before the hacker launches ICBM's and starts World War III. But complications soon arise and the mission turns personal.

Metadata
Title Criminal
Director Ariel Vromen
Director of Photography Dana Gonzales
Runtime 1 h 53 min
Certification R
Release Date 13 April 2016
Tagline The CIA's last hope is in the mind of a criminal
IMDb Id tt3014866
Homepage
Trailer

Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman, Tommy Lee Jones, Ryan Reynolds, Alice Eve, Gal Gadot, Michael Pitt – there are quite a few A & B-list names on this movie. And they don’t mind killing a few of them off either.

When CIA agent Bill Pope gets killed on assignment, an experimental technology is used to transplant his memories to someone else to try and find ‘The Dutchman’. The recipient of Bill’s memories is convict Jericho Stewart (Kevin Costner), a violent criminal with limited self control and no stop-button. He is however a very suitable candidate for the procedure, as his violent character is due to a brain disorder which has left part of his brain unused his entire life, making it an ideal bit of grey matter to transplant these memories into. As the memories start to trickle into Jericho’s awareness, they also start to influence his personality. As he initially hunts for a bag of money he now remembers existing, he soon finds himself in over his head with the CIA trying to prevent nuclear missile launches on the one hand and Jericho getting closer to Bill Pope’s widow and daughter on the other.

The premise and set-up is not bad, and actually Kevin Costner may not be perfect as supposedly hard-ass crazy death-row criminal but I would say credible enough. The script unfortunately is not good enough, at all, for the other characters to really work and get any depth. In particular Gary Oldman’s overly excitable CIA agent makes various extremely silly choices, preferably whilst unnecessarily yelling loudly and flapping about as if his own frontal lobe is also not quite connected soundly, which significantly weaken the plot’s credibility. Tommy Lee Jones always looks great with his droopy death stare and can easily add some moody gravitas, but here he is a bit of a lightweight in nearly all his scenes. Alice Eve also doesn’t manage to add any personality to her role, and Michael Pitt as The Dutchman couldn’t be bothered to spend 10 minutes trying to figure out how to pronounce his name in Dutch, and for some reason decided to model his accent initially on Russian before giving up on trying to have any accent at all as the movie progresses. And the main baddie Jordi Molla is about as menacing as Mr. Bean.

Ok well that last one is possibly not entirely fair, but there are enough weak points that either you switch off pretty early, or you just go with it and enjoy the popcorny side of this movie. I found it quite easy to do the latter and must admit I enjoyed it more than makes sense if you reflect more than 30 seconds on the plot. So best not to. The action scenes are the best; the more emotional scenes sometimes work better than other times, but overall Gal Gadot may actually have created the most credible character in this movie.

The names on the poster may raise your expectations higher than the movie deserves, so tone them down and enjoy this as a watchable action flick that you will happily forget faster than Jericho can remember anything.

5/10.

Criminal (5/10)
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