I actually got to see this movie last week at a free screening, but decided to hold off on the review until the week of its release to make it feel more relevant and hopefully avoid any trouble I could get into from reviewing it too early.
Criminal is about an imprisoned psychopath (Kevin Costner) who is the perfect candidate for an experiment due to a traumatic brain injury he suffered as a child. This experiment involves the transfer of memories from a deceased CIA agent to his brain, giving him all sorts of abilities. The CIA needs him to use the memories and abilities to help with a serious national security issue.
I had no idea what to expect going into this movie. I didn’t know all that much about it. But I ended up enjoying it a fair amount. It has an interesting, yet far fetched premise and an all star cast featuring Costner, Gary Oldman, Gal Gadot, Ryan Reynolds (kind of), and Tommy Lee Jones. One thing I noticed from very early on is the action scenes are very well done. They are shot well and don’t use too many cuts. But the sound is the best part. The sounds of the gunshots and explosions really immerse you in those particular scenes. There is also some decent comic relief every now and then that made me chuckle a few times.
Despite the fact I enjoyed the movie overall, it had its fair share of problems. The acting isn’t spectacular despite the cast. Costner basically grunts his was through the whole movie and Oldman is way over the top. I’m also not really sold on Gal Gadot as an actress. She definitely has some weak moments in this movie. Nothing totally egregious, but noticeable. Reynolds, as sort of alluded to above, is barely in the movie, despite being featured a lot in the trailer. The story tries to do a little too much, including trying to completely force an unnecessary love story in there, which also makes the ending pretty weak and unbelievable. The movie is also unexpectedly violent at times, with a scene or two making even me a bit uneasy. Consider yourself warned if you aren’t into that kind of thing.
Overall, it is a entertaining spy thriller that kept me enthralled for the majority of the movie. It has its problems, but also has some good elements to it. I don’t think it is something that you need to rush out to the theater to see this weekend. It is something you can definitely wait until DVD to see as it does feel a bit forgettable. Regardless, I’ll give Criminal a 3.25/5.
Are you looking forward to this movie? Have you already seen it too? Let me know in the comments.