Review: CRIMINAL (2016) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Review: CRIMINAL (2016)

When CIA operative Bill Pope (Ryan Reynolds) is killed during a top-secret mission, the only chance to retrieve his memory that contains vital info about a young hacker known as "The Dutchman" (Michael Pitt) is through memory implant. By doing so, CIA chief Quaker Wells (Gary Oldman) enlisted brilliant neurosurgeon Dr. Franks (Tommy Lee Jones) to transfer Pope's memories into another human subject. And the best candidate turns out to be a death-row convict named Jericho Stewart (Kevin Costner). After the surgery completes with no apparent positive result, Jericho ends up being sent away but manages to escape custody. Now at large in London, Jericho soon experiencing a series of headaches where Pope's fragmented memories start to jumble up in his mind.

REVIEW: The first thing that got me interested about CRIMINAL is the high-profile cast itself with Costner, Oldman and Jones appearing in the same movie together since Oliver Stone's JFK in 1991. While Oldman overacts a lot and Jones sleepwalks throughout his role, Costner thankfully doesn't bore with a one-dimensional leading role. In fact, he steals most of the show playing a lunatic who loves to bash people up to get whatever he wants. As for the rest of the cast, Ryan Reynolds is adequate enough in his minor role as a doomed CIA operative. Following her scene-stealing performance as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman in BATMAN v SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE, Gal Gadot continues to prove her acting range beyond her eye-candy appearance.

After a four-year hiatus since his last directorial effort in THE ICEMAN (2012), Ariel Vromen ventures further into an action-thriller territory. Although it's a pity he doesn't fully embrace the implausibilities of Douglas Cook and David Weisberg's "memory-swapping" plot that would make a perfect high-concept popcorn movie usually seen in the '90s (e.g. John Woo's FACE/OFF), Vromen still manages to display an energetic pace throughout its nearly two-hour length. The overall action scenes aren't particularly memorable, but at least Vromen made full use of its R-rating showcasing enough violent moments to satisfy most genre fans.

While the far-fetched premise is as generic as the title itself, CRIMINAL boasts a sufficient B-movie energy with a fun performance from Kevin Costner.

* This review is written courtesy from TGV press screening *

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