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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Monday, July 17, 2017

Movie Review - Criminal

Criminal (2016)
Starring Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman, Tommy Lee Jones, Alice Eve, Gal Gadot, Michael Pitt, Jordi Mollà, and Ryan Reynolds
Directed by Ariel Vromen
***This film is currently streaming via HBO Now/GO***

Not that it matters to this reviewer at all, but for some reason I thought Criminal was a Ryan Reynolds-starring film.  Considering this was released shortly after the huge (unwarranted) success of Deadpool, perhaps the marketing did genuinely play up Reynolds' involvement, but let it be known that the actor is barely in this piece.  Reynolds is Bill Pope, an American CIA agent working in London who has recently been in contact with a hacker known as The Dutchman (Michael Pitt) who broke into a variety of computer programs and gained access to a slew of worldwide nuclear codes.  The Dutchman was working for Xavier Heimdahl (Jordi Mollà), an anarchist who, upon discovering the Dutchman's betrayal, sets out to find Pope and find out where the CIA agent is hiding the hacker.  Pope refuses to talk and Heimdahl has him killed.  (I promise, that's not really a spoiler as it happens within the first fifteen minutes of the film.)  London CIA head Quaker Wells (Gary Oldman), who is also unsure of the Dutchman's location, contacts Dr. Micah Franks (Tommy Lee Jones) who has been working on an experimental treatment for the government where he implants the memories of one individual into another.  Considering the risky operation, the CIA chooses a nasty convict, murderer Jericho Stewart (Kevin Costner), to test the treatment and, needless to say, Jericho doesn't necessarily follow orders when he's finally released from his isolated prison cell leading Agent Wells and his team to not only have to save the world from the Dutchman's boss, but also try and round up a criminal whom they've set loose in the city of London.

A long summary, yes, but the details at the start of Criminal are the most important...and frankly, the beginning is the only time this movie really works.  Sure, there's an obvious ludicrousness to the medical notions discussed, but it was at least moderately intriguing and slightly different which is more than can be said about the film's second two-thirds which devolve into a rote action chase film.  It's fun to see Kevin Costner as a bad guy -- albeit a bad guy with the memories of a good guy which sets up a slightly complicated character for Costner to sink his teeth into -- but the film Costner's Jericho Stewart is inhabiting is just too typical and ho hum to really become invested.

The RyMickey Rating:  C-

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