Movie Review: Criminal


I've yet to see Kevin Costner in a "bad guy" role, so Criminal was interesting to me in that regard - he's a hardened convict, but at the same time his brain was slightly damaged as a child, so he doesn't know right from wrong. All that changes, however, after a murdered CIA agent's memories are implanted into Costner's brain.

Bill Pope (Ryan Reynolds) is running out of time. He eventually gets caught by Heimbahl (Jordi MollĂ ), a Spanish anarchist, who pumps him for information and then murders him. Dr. Franks (Tommy Lee Jones), a scientist, has been experimenting for eighteen years with implanting memories from mammals into other mammals, and CIA agent Quaker Wells (Gary Oldman) calls him: he wants him to implant Pope's memories into a convict, Jericho Stewart (Costner), who is rare in that he had frontal lobe damage as a child (therefore, implanting the memories wouldn't "tape over" any of his own). Once the surgery happens, Stewart pretends that he doesn't know any of Pope's memories - however, he remembers everything, and he soon sets out to find the money that Pope hid just before he died.

In a weird way, this movie reminded me of The Final Cut, a Robin Williams movie, as well as Self/less, another Ryan Reynolds movie where Ben Kingsley's mind had been implanted into Reynolds' consciousness. The film had a lot of action throughout, but for some reason I was bored about midway through - a lot of the bad guys (there are a few here) seemed like caricatures of what "bad guys" should be, and none of their back stories are explored much, either.

Yes, see this movie, despite all that - it's a fun action film that does have some interesting moments. Gal Gadot (recently seen as Wonder Woman, in Batman v. Superman) also has a small part, as Reynolds' wife, as well as Michael Pitt as a hacker and Alice Eve as an FBI agent. The movie keeps a steady pace throughout, but did fail to keep my attention for the middle third or so, as I was checking my watch frequently. This is definitely a "popcorn film," but not a bad choice if you're looking for something to watch - the cast is very "A-List" (Costner, Reynolds - for a short period of time, anyways - Oldman, Jones, and more) and most of them are good here.

Criminal is in theaters today, April 15th, and is rated R with a runtime of 113 minutes. 3 stars out of 5.

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