Film Review: Criminal

Posted in Reviews, Top Stories by - April 15, 2016
Film Review: Criminal

Criminal mediocrely fulfills your action thirst, but fails to introduce any level of enthrallment despite a cast that leaves you salivating.

Let’s take a moment to look at this cast. I’ll lay it out for you, the stars and their biggest titles, in my opinion. Kevin Costner(Field of Dreams), Ryan Reynolds(Deadpool), Gal Gadot(Batman V. Superman), Michael Pitt(Boardwalk Empire), Gary Oldman(The Dark Knight), and Tommy Lee Jones(Men in Black). Each and every one of these actors have a title to their name that includes drama and action. This cast makes you look at this film, on paper, and crave whatever meal it may be serving. Unfortunately for the viewer, this narrative is limitedly creative, and ultimately a bit mundane.

Criminal begins with immersing you immediately into the world of Bill Pope(Reynolds). He’s being followed, it’s not clear by who, but it’s clear he’s deeply involved in something extraordinarily dangerous. He’s eventually caught, we surmise by the “bad guys”, and due to his reluctance to divulge information, he’s killed. Turns out Pope is a CIA agent, an immensely valuable one at that. He’s got information the CIA needs, and others desire, so what better way to recover that information than to implant his memories and thoughts into another man, right? If you’re incredulous to this science, you’re right. At least that’s what I’ve come to believe upon looking into this, but even if you don’t fact check it, it seems so unrealistic in the film as well. To clarify, this film is not intended to be science fiction, the screenplay intends to make you believe in this science, but it’s simply doesn’t work. Moving on, the memory implantation is to be performed by Dr. Franks(Jones), and the only viable candidate happens to be Jericho Stewart(Costner), a lifetime thug with no ability to feel regular human emotions. The transplant works, in it’s own ridiculous way, and Jericho starts to feel like Bill, and feel what Bill felt, including love for Jill(Gadot), Bill’s wife. The movie progresses and dives deeper into the CIA, and Jericho’s, hunt for The Dutchman(Pitt), who has something they want. A few kills and explosions later, the narrative leads us to the inevitable and grossly predictable ending that every sub-par action film composes of. I’ll allow you to experience this humdrum denouement for yourself, or you know, don’t?

I don’t want to shit on this film too heavily, because there was a time or two where I thought, Wow, Jericho is a badass of sorts. However, to say that Writers Douglas Cook and David Weisberg couldn’t get more creative than this, or that Director Ariel Vromen got the absolute most out of the surplus of talent that was afforded to him, would be irresponsible on my part.  The cinematography was sufficient, and the special effects along with all things action of the film weren’t significant for a film in 2016. Criminal would have been better served if they purely stuck to the main plot of the film. Focusing on making Jericho the most ass-kicking, name-taking, son-of-a-bitch badass they could might have made this film memorable. I understand why they chose to implement the drama, and love sub-plots they did, because they are there is all Costner films, but it just isn’t happening for me. I’m not feeling anything during those scenes except for annoyance that Jericho isn’t beating anyone down.

Criminal doesn’t meld the way a film should. You’ll end up being indifferent to it all, uninvested in every element of the narrative, and just waiting for it to be over. I never expected an ending that blew me away, but it would have been great if it was a fun ride throughout. Unfortunately for me, and the rest of you, you’ll find yourself mildly intrigued in the best scenes, a frankly you won’t give a damn the rest of the time. None the less, Criminal will undoubtedly make a profit with it’s 31 million budget, but that won’t mean this film is successful.

Official Trailer:

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