WARNING:SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW
Self/less Criminal we see the memories and skills of deceased CIA agent Bill Pope (Ryan Reynolds) are implanted into mass killer, Jericho Stewart (Kevin Costner), in order to finish an incomplete mission.
Review: If this film sounds like a lot of other films you’ve seen, you’re not entirely wrong. Criminal borrows some elements from Self/less and a little bit from the Bourne saga, but is a decent action film with glimmers of heart.
Jericho Stewart was a man who never knew right from wrong due to head trauma as a child. This led him to a career of crime and multiple stints in prison. When CIA agent Bill Pope dies, and Quaker Wells (Gary Oldman) needs sensitive information from Pope’s memories, he enlists Dr. Franks (Tommy Lee Jones) to implant his memories into Jericho’s mind. This leads Jericho to have feelings and help protect Bill’s wife Jill (Gal Gadot) and daughter, Emma.
The rest of the film is a bit of a muddled mess. The CIA is looking for the Dutchman (Michael Pitt), who holds the key to American launch codes that can destroy the world. The action scenes play out very standard for an action film, with Costner still able to kick some butt for and elder statesman.
What really makes the film stand out was the family scenes, showing Jericho’s interaction with Jill and Emma and how he relates Bill’s love to them. They show Costner’s range and that he is still one of the better actors in the game today. Gadot also has strong chops as she has a lot more to do in this film than she did in Batman v Superman.
Costner hasn’t been a bankable star in years, with films like Three Days to Kill and Draft Day missing the marks in the box office. While smaller films like Black or White and McFarland USA have done well with critics and awards, none have made him the star he was in the late 80s and 90s. And while Criminal reunites JFK stars Costner, Oldman, and Lee 25 years later, it doesn’t seem like this film will change his current trajectory.
Criminal has been released on a weekend that will be trounced by The Jungle Book and the next Barbershop film, but for those looking for an action film among the family and comedy fare, Criminal is a good alternative.
Fun Fact: Most of the stars from Criminal have appeared in a superhero movie. Kevin Costner appeared in Man of Steel, Gary Oldman in the Dark Knight trilogy, Tommy Lee Jones in Batman Forever, Gal Gadot in Batman v Superman, and Ryan Reynolds in Deadpool.
Final Grade: 7.0/10