Saturday, July 09, 2016

'Criminal' Has an Interesting Cast and an Intriguing Premise, but Fails to Be an Enjoyable Thriller

Kevin Costner, Tommy Lee Jones, Gary Oldman, Ryan Reynolds, and Gal Gadot.  That’s Jonathan Kent, Two-Face, Commissioner Gordon, Deadpool, and Wonder Woman.  This cast in a science fiction action thriller sounds a lot of fun, right?

Criminal is about a sociopathic criminal named Jericho Stewart (Kevin Costner) who is implanted with the brain patterns of deceased CIA agent Bill Pope (Ryan Reynolds), allowing the former to assimilate the latter’s memories and skills.

Pope was killed just after securing a defecting enemy hacker named “The Dutchman”, who holds a wormhole program that can access nuclear defense codes at will.  Desperate to find this hacker before his former colleagues do, the CIA opts to activate an innovative brain treatment that can transfer a dead man’s memories into a living man’s brain, and Stewart is chosen as the recipient of the treatment due to having an underdeveloped frontal lobe, the result of a childhood trauma and the reason for his criminal impulses.

But bedlam understandably ensues when you give a sociopath the skill set of a CIA agent.
The premise is clichéd.  I easily determined that while watching its trailer.  But despite being something I’ve seen many times in some form or another, there’s something about it that nonetheless intrigued me.  I expected that it was not going to be smart, but I thought it was going to be at least fun.  And with the kind of cast it has, there’s a good reason to be optimistic.

Unfortunately, Criminal turned out being boring at most parts.  The cast delivered committed performances, but the mediocre script didn’t give them enough to work on.  The drama is weak and unengaging.  There’s a lack of exciting action – actually, there’s a lack of any action in general; the tedious pacing makes it worse.  The only time it has an inkling of badassery is the part near its end.

Criminal is a thriller that fails to deliver the thrills.  It’s not even a dumb but fun action movie.  And, I guess, that’s the problem in the first place.  It was trying to be taken seriously as a cerebral film, but lacked both the vision and execution to be so.  Thus, it ended up being silly, dull, and unrewarding.  Which is a shame, really, since I genuinely wanted this movie to be at least enjoyable.

Lastly, I do believe Kevin Costner can be a great Liam Neeson-esque action star.  I really want him to get his “Taken moment.”  Another reason why I’m disappointed Criminal didn’t work.           

No comments: