Criminal (2016)

When CIA operative Bill Pope (Ryan Reynolds) is killed in action, his employers gamble with an experimental medical procedure to recover his memories. Transferred into the head of sociopathic prisoner, Jericho (Kevin Costner), can the memories be recovered in time to complete Pope’s mission – stopping an anarchist from bringing down the world’s governments?

Criminal was a decent idea handed to a great cast, but sadly drowned in a poor script. The action is high (as are the violence and gore – I winced more than a few times!) and I was quite impressed with several of the performances. Costner’s character changes and develops a great deal over the film, and while I’m not a big fan, he handles it all very well. Reynolds may never be allowed to play so small a role again, after the success of Deadpool, but his presence adds a nice counterweight to what could have been mistakenly given to a lesser-known face.

Unfortunately, the rest of the cast have been given rather shaky roles. Jordi Molla is a truly one dimensional baddie, which is just no good up against the increasingly morally unbalanced Jericho. Worse, Gary Oldman’s CIA chief does nothing bar shout and make horrendously poor decisions. Unfortunately, the plot hinges on the outcomes of those awful decisions and it becomes more than a little distracting. One ounce of common sense from the character, rather than irrational violence, and the story would have fallen apart. Argh!

Overall, then, this is gory popcorn fare – or should be, if we were only allowed to switch our brains off. Alas, the dreadful ‘science’ and unlikely character decisions stretch credulity wafer thin, which is a shame given some of the strong performances.

Released: 15th April 2016
Viewed: 22nd April 2016
Running time: 113 minutes
Rated: 15 with a lot of gore, violence, and swearing

My rating: 5/10

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