Criminal: Film Review

Kevin Costner’s latest action thriller is batshit crazy and unintentionally hilarious but so completely entertaining, mostly at its own expense.

Costner plays Jericho, a total nutcase prisoner who has some weird brain syndrome that makes him perfect for this new experiment – implanting memories from one person into another. It isn’t Freaky Friday – Jericho is still there, but with added info from CIA agent Bill Pope (Ryan Reynolds), who was killed in the middle of a major mission. Jericho is used to uncover what Bill knew about the operation and finish the job but he is very unreliable so Doctor Franks (Tommy Lee Jones) and agent Quaker Wells (Gary Oldman) have to keep tabs.

Needless to say, you have to suspend your belief a lot with this movie – it is hard to believe this would happen, that Ryan Reynolds would be killed in a movie (he’s Deadpool now guys!), that Jericho would survive an operation of this scale and remember Bill’s info, or that Bill’s wife Jill (Gal Gadot) and daughter would trust this scary-looking thug. Don’t even get me started on the romantic hint at the end…

It was refreshing to see Costner play the asshole, and he does it well but he over-eggs it. He employs a lot of guttural moans and random noises that made me laugh a lot when they were supposed to be signs of anguish and hardship. Jericho isn’t likeable but you get behind him because you want the actual villain (whose acting is AWFUL) to go down with his help. Oldman and Jones are fantastic as always and Gadot is fine, but I found the actions of her character improbable and annoying.

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There are some brilliant action scenes and a lot of hand-to-hand combat. I also enjoyed the London setting because it showed real places outside of central London – not just the tourist spots. It has a gritty, realistic vibe that is rare for a U.S. production. However, some of the writing for everyday London folk cracked me up because they were so quintessentially British yet ill-fitting within the genre. Somebody literally says “It ain’t worth the kerfuffle mate” when a kebab owner is getting out a weapon to use against Jericho. Well, everyone burst out laughing and I don’t think that was the intention. Non-English audiences will probably not even notice this.

The CGI is questionable at times, the script needed some work and Costner’s character is unintentionally hilarious but at the end of the day, I still found Criminal to be an action-packed and fun thrill ride. Just switch your brain off and enjoy.

In cinemas Friday 15th April 

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