In Theatres: 
Apr 15, 2016
Running Time: 
113 minutes

It’s very apt that when looking up Criminal on IMDb the first two films listed under “People who liked this also liked…” are the comedies The Boss and Keanu, because this film inadvertently kept cracking me up. If you’re in the market for a brutal, sort of sci-fi-ish, spy thriller action film, Criminal will not fail you. However, be forewarned, this is a Monet of film; don’t look too closely at the details, because these plot holes are big enough to fit rogue governments in. 

Kevin Costner is Jericho Stewart, an unrepentant criminal, so violent and feral that he is kept alone, on the basement floor of the prison. He is chained by the neck to the middle of floor, keeping him away from the walls or bars and his food is dropped through a hole in the ceiling. Dr. Franks (Tommy Lee Jones) explains that he Jericho feels no remorse and does not know right or wrong due to a traumatic frontal lobe injury he suffered as a result of child abuse.

This lack of self makes Jericho the perfect vessel for implanting the memories (this is a very real cool/scary thing) of a deceased CIA agent, Bill Pope (Ryan Reynolds). The CIA needs access to these memories to find a cyber terrorist, Jan Stroop (Michael Pitt) and shut him down. I think? I mean, in the end the bad guy is dealt with, but Jan’s motivations for creating this scenario, as well as Bill’s motivations for teaming up with him are never revealed. But like I said, don’t look so closely at this. Details are not the strong suit, step five feet back and remember, we’re here for the Old Man Action Film--and wow, do we get that!

Ryan Reynolds is the youngest male lead in the film and he’s quickly dispensed with. Most of the film follows Kevin Costner (61), Gary Oldman (58), and Jordi Mollà (47, who plays the Spanish Anarchist, Hagbardaka Heimbahl) as they play cat and mouse around London, searching for Jan before Bill’s memories lose hold over Jericho. Curiously, all of the women featured are in their mid thirties if not younger. 

Jericho’s violence, before Bill’s memories take hold, is explosive and committed without any thought for the consequences it could have, not only on others, but for himself. Eventually, he succumbs to Bill’s feelings of love and duty, the scenes unfold as expected, and the thrills are pretty constant. Criminal is inoffensive and silly; a throwback to the action films of the early and mid 90’s that gives you a nice buzz of brain rot.

Maria Jackson
Review by Maria Jackson
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