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And Tommy Lee Jones, Gal Gadot, Gary Oldman and Michael Pitt (Alice Eve here is little more than an extra) strive to fill with workmanship and dignity their otherwise gaunt supporting roles.
They all succeed in saving the day and in the end you won't fall asleep or leave theater in contempt. But on your way home you could probably comment that this is one of the most useless (or unconvincing) films you ever watched.
Criminal on paper looks like a safe bet, it's produced by super 'B' movie producer Avi Lerner (Olympus/London has fallen, Expendables) has an A list cast and a much worn premise, along the lines of Face Off or Ryan Reynolds lukewarm thriller from 2015 Self/less, involving body/mind swap sci-fi, while being set in a present day surrounding.
The premise, Reynolds young spy has his memory's implanted into Kevin Costners gruff, violent criminal by Dr Tommy Lee Jones, overseen by mostly shouty Spy boss Gary Oldman, to stop some bad men doing bad things with hacking and missiles. Costner's criminal escapes and goes on a bit of a rampage through London whilst also wrestling his own violent nature against Reynolds softer character traits seeping through (so basically he's got a bit of a split personality going on).
In other words it's a silly high concept plot line to effectively have Costner run around a city, beat up some bad guys, get into shoot outs, chases and save the day.
He also along the way tracks down Gal Gadot who is Reynolds wife, and by far the best at delivering anything near a believable character, followed by Tommy Lee Jones (in a very restrained role) in a very mixed bag of a movie.
The film was made for around 30 million dollars, so don't expect much big blockbuster action, although the few car chases and explosions there are, are done decently, the film still at times feels quite cheap. The pace is a little off as well as its a bit of a slog and feels longer than it should at times.
In terms of tone it's violent, full of bad language, and seems to think both of those pass as humour, they don't in the context they are used in this film and are frankly pretty misjudged.
The performances vary, by far the worst being Gary Oldman who whilst normally excellent simply feels like he's in another film altogether at times, he literally shouts his scenes of dialogue at times when it seems a quieter authority would have been better suited.
As for leading man Costner, he's playing a pretty unlikeable fella here, so you would expect the filmmakers to try and inject some charm for an audience to sympathize or grow some kind of emotional attachment, but no Costner simply grunts and swears through most scenes in a gruff lazy drool, he's watchable as always but doesn't have much to work with here, though they do try to have him form a Bond with mother and child later on its quite late in proceedings.
There's some good touches, Gal Gadot brings out a softer side of Costner's character, there's a decent mix of Electro music and the film score used is atmospheric, some of the visuals are decent, shots of London for example and the action scenes whilst only short bursts are clear to see and not confusing and finally there's the thriller plot aspect of the story that plays like a standard spy/action thriller as our (anti) hero must set out to stop the villains and save the girl.
In closing, mixed performances, misplaced serious tone with violent outbursts of humour, some decent action but a bit of misguided film, watchable, not terrible but quite frustrating given the fact there's a better movie in there that could of got out.
3 out of 5.
The memories and skills of deceased CIA agent Bill Pope are implanted into gruff convict, Jericho Stewart, in order to finish an incomplete mission.
Handsome Actor Ryan Reynolds plays the role of a CIA agent in London, he struggles to come back to to his home base. Two opponents are chasing him, the CIA and a team of terrorists. When the terrorists come closer to the CIA agent a series of breathtaking incidents will happen and the dramatic climax comes and will definitely please all the audience who love Great Action Movies.
"Criminal" (2016) is kinda "been there saw that" type of flick - nothing original, nothing super exciting, but as a one evening guilty pleasure it does it's job, at least partly.
The cast is superb, and everyone did their OK jobs for the material, except for Tommy Lee Jones - this is "you got to be kidding me" type of performance - he goes with one facial expression during whole flick, expression that says "what am i doing here? what is this thing?".
Overall, nice execution and OK story with some fun acting makes this flick work for one boring evening. There is even some descent music in it, the one in the van and the one at very end - closing song was great.
The cast is perfect, the setting is brilliant. The story flawless (if you let yourself go with it)
First of all let me say that Mr Costner has proved beyond a shadow of a doubt he is one of the greatest actors of this or any generation. His performance is powerful, stirring and just plain amazing. I would never of thought he could portray a character like this. This is not the man from Robin Hood.. far from a Field of Dreams and so much more than a Waterworld. The pace never lets up and you will find yourself shocked, stunned , cheering, laughing and wincing in equal measure. All parts are played by cast brilliantly and with conviction. The action sequences do not feel like set pieces but more like a fluid progression of the plight of the main character. Gal Godot is beautiful in this movie, frail and torn and you can see it, I mean really see it. Ms Gabot is proving to be far more than a pretty face (not that I only thought that) Ryan Renolds is on key as usual in a familiar kind of role. At one point (i'll let you figure which part I mean) my heart breaks for the man. Gary Oldman is frantic and who can blame him , also brilliantly done. I'm not going to dissect the movie as I'm sure many will but only say be prepared for a movie that will draw you in and keep you hooked until the very end and then have you begging for the movie to be longer. Down to direction, location, stunts, sfx BRAVO !! I'm not sure if this is a movie that will be looked upon as Oscar worthy (it should be) but for the sake of common sense and justice to a great performance, Mr Kevin Costner take a bow and I hope beyond hope that you get the recognition you deserve for this movie... Outstanding !!!!!
P.S sorry if my grammar offends (or amuses) :)
More like Face off, just that here it's not the face but the mind that's been swapped from a CIA operative to Costner. All I can say is watch this movie at any cost cos Costner delivered what no man can do to such perfection it's almost impossible to explain. 10/10 at any cost!!
I was disappointed that few people were in the theater, and I can only speculate that most of the main actors are...what, too old to draw in the crowd? If so, that's sad, because this one is really worth seeing. Even buying a copy to keep.
And Kevin Costner deserves an Oscar.
"Criminal" is brilliant. Everything about it, the setup, the cinematography, the music, the story, all of it is this intricate dance that teases us with bits and pieces before it's finally laid out before us. The directing, how beautifully choreographed everything is, the quick scene shots that build the tension, are truly masterful. Gal Gadot, Gary Oldman, Tommy Lee Jones, Ryan Reynolds all perfect in their parts. Ariel Vromen has crafted an amazing work.
But Kevin Costner was just amazing. If you think you know him from his movies, well, you find that you really don't know him at all. Watching the transition from somewhere between a child and an animal, thinking only of survival, to a thinking, feeling human being is really beyond words to describe. And the way he plays Jericho, like how he holds his hands as if they're in shackles, even when he's free to let you know that he's been in the system more than he's been out.
You could see him as simply a brutal thug, but he is so much more. On one level, he's an animal, doing what it takes to survive. People don't really exist to him, except to take things from. He doesn't really relate to them at all. At the same time, he's a child, never being able to grow past a certain point, stuck at the time of the accident, acting out as a child would. The short time that Ryan Reynolds' character has on screen is crucial to the way the story plays out for Jericho. And, as the movie progresses, we see flashes of Bill Pope, not just the memories, but the mannerisms, the gestures, even the facial expressions and tone of voice. Kevin Costner has done this so perfectly, so subtly, that it might slip past the most casual of viewers, but it's a critical piece of the story. It's fascinating to watch the flashes of the other personality, Jericho's confusion at the whole idea of feelings, something utterly foreign to him. He has these feelings, and isn't even sure what to call them at first. His sudden familiarity with language, pass codes, computers, stand out to us because they're so very NOT Jericho. But the easy facility with all of them IS Bill Pope, and they're played as if Bill is operating inside Jericho's body, which he is. But not all the time, which makes it even more interesting to watch, the flip back and forth between this near animal and the family man/agent/very civilized human being.
The anarchist, Xavier Heimdahl, and the CIA head, Quaker Wells, look very similar to each other. I don't think this is an accident. They are both driven men, not averse to violence, doing anything to achieve their ends. Xavier is trying to use one man's knowledge to destroy everything, Quaker is using one man's knowledge to stop him. Two sides of the same coin. Everyone is expendable to them. They are both zealots.
I love the extra touches, the homage to "Flowers For Algernon" (if you read the book, you'll know), for example.
Yes, it's a violent movie, but the violence is a necessary part if you're going to understand what's going on, the nature of memory, the difficult and unlikely hero's journey that our main character takes. If you want a movie that delivers far more than mere action, this is it.
Forget the Egg-Head Cranks, Kick-Back and have Fun with this Star-Studded Romp that is Highly Emotional, Endearing, Violent, and an Anti-Hero worth Rooting for.
Kevin Costner is Involving, Gary Oldman almost Destroys any Balance of Good Sense and Cleverness in His First Scene confronting Costner's "Jericho", but manages to Recover for some Redemption by the Feel-Good Ending.
This is a Familiar Story but Twisty Enough to make it Fresh. Tommy Lee Jones Walks through His Minor Part, but the rest of the Cast comes through working with the "Comic-Book" Script. Lara Decaro is the Heart of the Movie as a Little Girl who Warms up the Films Cold Premise.
Overall, Criminally Underrated Mainstream Movie that makes up for its Shallowness and Clichés with a Rapid Pace, Good Thrill Kills, and Costner's Commitment to the Role. This is one of those Big-Name Attractions that Critics Love to Hate for not being Intelligent and Opting for a By-the-Numbers Scenario.
These Prudes have Forgotten that Movies at their Least can be Forgiven a lot of Things if it Simply Entertains. This Fun Film does just that and maybe a bit More.
This is a sci-fi/spy movie about a mind transplant. Remember the 1997 'Face/Off', with Nicolas Cage & John Travolta? It's kind of like that, but one-sided, what with one of them being dead, both minds go into one body. Ryan is a CIA operative that is on the run in London, after putting a sought after hacker called 'The Dutchman' into a safe house. Problems arise when Ryan gets caught and killed by the bad guys-without giving up the safe house, of course. Gary is head of the CIA branch in London and comes up with a plan to transfer Ryan's memories into someone, so they can find the hacker. He just happens to track down a doctor, Tommy, that has been experimenting with this exact brain transferal, but only on rats, so far. The only available human subject available, on such short notice, is Kevin, a condemned sociopath on death row. The surgery is done but does not seem to work, so Kevin is escorted back to prison. Guess what? He escapes and the memories start ebbing into his mind. Gal plays Ryan's wife. Kevin goes back and forth between having no feelings and not caring between right and wrong to remembering Gal and other key bits of information. Now, the bad guys and the good guys want him and the chase is on. It's rated "R" for violence and language and has a running time of 1 hour & 53 minutes. I enjoyed it enough that I would buy it on DVD.
This all star cast is led by Gary Oldman with yet another odd name, "Quaker Wells". Surrounding him are the magnificent Gal Godot, Alice Eve, Michael Pitt, Tommy Lee Jones, Scott Adkins and a very creepy Jordi Mollà as Heimdal, we also saw him as the soon-to-be-beheaded cretin and Jamoke "Santana" in "Riddick". Here, he does his best Ron Silver (From Timecop and Blue Steel) impression. Antje Traue is another "man of Steel" Bad Girl. except she looks a lot nicer. But that's misdirection. Bad people usually look the most normal.
Kevin shows us what it would look like if a violent, uncontrollable criminal would have the memories of a decent man implanted, eventually he can't help but to start having feelings and doing good. He doesn't want to, he just can't help it. Of course, Quaker Wells the CIA chief played by Oldman, doesn't do much good to encourage that goodness to come out. Costner also inherits all of Reynold's skills, at first using those to simply stay alive. His only ally is Dr Franks (Tommy Lee), but that list gets larger as we go on.
Somewhere in here is Danny Webb, the only survivor of "Alien 3", the British backdrop of this film gives us interesting actors from that area as local denizens.
It took me a few weeks to get to this film, at first it did not look like something I'd like. But it has a lot of good things, Science Fiction, Spies, and good Buttkickings. And Gary is always great in Spy movies. This is the second film in which I have seen Gal Godot, and she's a wonder woman here as well.
The premise here, is that Reynold's character was after a hacker who had a program that could do some damaging things. So we have the elements of an IT Thriller as well.
But what pleases me is that Costner is not finished acting, not by a long shot. And this role is something a lot different, it is the anti-hero. Something which Tom Cruise tried in "Edge of Tomorrow".
Lets just say that I enjoyed this movie so much that I watched it again on the proper screen after my flight for a better experience.
Below are the main reasons I gave this movie 9/10
- The cast: Gary Oldman, Keven Costner, Tommy Lee Jones should I say more?
- The plot: Simple, easy to follow and super entertaining. But most importantly as Jerico (Kevin Costner) develops the memory of Bill Pope (Ryan Reynolds) I was kept on my seat because I had no idea what Jerico was going to do next and how his character will slowly change as the film progresses. Moreover there was so much at stake!
- Acting: The dialog isn't that great. But Kevin Costner blew me away with his performance. All of the other cast members also did a phenomenal job.
- This movie really reminded me of the 90's action movies such as "Face-Off". And believe me that it has been a while when I watch a movie and it isn't that predictable - I had to constantly keep guessing on what was going to happen next.
- This movie had a very good ending, and somehow it felt quite believable.
My advice: JUST WATCH IT!
Well I guess it's the premise of putting one man's memories into another man's head. Yet, I did the research and it's science in the making. It has worked on rats, as quoted in the movie.
Costner's character made me laugh, wince, smile, cry, laugh and smile again. He plays the villain and the hero to a tee. Oldman's last line gives me the idea there may be a sequel and I will be first in line to watch Costner strut his stuff once again.
Love the London locations and British references, but I may be bias having been born and raised there.
Have not come across this director before but is reminiscent of McG and Luc Besson. Was quite sure one or the other had a hand in this movie until the credits. Give it a go lovers of Besson and McG. It really isn't Dances With Wolves, although note the recurring religious imagery, especially within the names.
As I've hinted - can't wait for the sequel.
This will have you on your seat most of the time so find a good relaxing couch. The CGI and physical stunts along with the heart- pounding music will keep you awake and alert. The acting all around is excellent. We don't like seeing Jericho do the mean things he does, but we have to get over that and see (and hope) if Pope's memories take hold as Doctor Francis (Tommy Lee Jones) insists they will. The pacing is fast and furious almost like a Jason Bourne movie. What's not to like?
There is one very big plot hole early on as Jericho escapes his CIA custody. Why didn't the CIA keep a closer eye on Pope's home to see if Jericho goes there? Had they done so they could have corralled Jericho quicker and made him comply with the mission he agreed to. Can the CIA be this inept? Let's find out.
Things begin to turn, but not too quickly, for Jericho when he encounters Pope's wife Jill (Gal Gadot) and daughter Emma (Lara Decaro). Here the pacing slows down and we get to enjoy a friendlier Jericho. Will it last? Let's find out.
We see CIA Chief Wells (Gary Oldman) constantly looking for Jericho and the Dutchman as both elude CIA surveillance. His blood pressure rises when he learns the Russians are now in contact with the Dutchman for the Wormhole and he cannot let the Russians get that program.
There is a truly unexpected twist near the end when chief bad guy Xavier (Jordi Molla) jets away with the Wormhole. (Whaaat?)
Over all this is an excellent thriller despite some minor plot holes. (There are others?) The action is fast and furious and we like it that way, but we also liked the scenes with Gal Gadot, Lara Decaro and Kevin Costner and these scenes were pure gold.
In order to appreciate this movie we need to get over seeing Kevin Costner as a bad guy and hope beyond hope that he eventually turns into a good guy. Will he? Go find out. (9/10)
Violence: Yes. Sex: No. Nudity: No. Language: Yes.
I've seen some of the so called 'professioal' critics views of the film on here and most of the one's I've seen aren't too good. Some people will pick and look for faults with everything. Take no notice and I'm sure, if you like action films, this will float your boat.