CRIMINAL (director: Ariel Vromen; screenwriters: Douglas Cook/David Weisberg; cinematographer: Dana Gonzales; editor: Danny Rafic; music: Keith Power & Brian Tyler; cast: Kevin Costner (Jerico Stewart), Gary Oldman (Quaker Wells), Tommy Lee Jones (Dr Micah Franks), Ryan Reynolds (Bill Pope), Gal Gadot (Jill Pope), Jordi Molla (Xavier Hemdahl), Michael Pitt (Jan ‘The Dutchman’ Strook), Alice Eve (Marta Lynch), Antje Traue (Elsa Mueller), Lara Decaro (Emma Pope), Amaury Nolasco (Esteban Rulza), Joe Fidler (Radio Man Fred Bosh ), Scott Adkins (Pete Greensleeves); Runtime: 115; MPAA Rating: R; producers: J.C. Sprink/ Christa Campbell/Mark Gill/Jake Weiner/Matt O’Toole; Lionsgate; 2016)
“A witless high-concept action filmthat’s forgettable.“ Reviewed by Dennis SchwartzA witless high-concept action film that’s forgettable. The sci-fi Cold War espionage story by Israeli director Ariel Vromen (“Danika”/”Rx”) suffers from the same medical condition as the film’s hero, of a “frontal lobe syndrome,” which impairs brain functions like judgment, attention span and feelings. The one-dimensional spy characters and the trite dialogue are taken from the inane script by David Weisberg and Douglas Cook. The techno thriller is set in London. The American government springs badass, brain-damaged, sociopath killer Jerico (Kevin Costner) from a London prison to give him experimental brain surgery conducted by Dr. Franks (Tommy Lee Jones), who transfers the memories of the just executed CIA intelligence officer Bill Pope (Ryan Reynolds) into him. The blustery CIA honcho Quaker Wells (Gary Oldman) has three days for Jerico to make like Pope and stop The Dutchman (Michael Pitt), a hacker of American top secret defense codes. These codes in the wrong hands could change the balance of power in the world. Before Pope can buy the codes from The Dutchman, the madman industrialist Xavier kills Pope and The Dutchman goes on the run. The only hope is for the out-of-control homicidal maniac to locate in time The Dutchman and secure the document. For most of the film Jerico is on the run from his CIA handlers and the anarchist heavy. His meeting with Pope’s sweet wife (Gal Gadot) and young daughter (Lara Decaro) will release human feelings he never experienced before, as he forms a bond with Pope’s family. Though the snarling performance played with conviction by Costner is one of his better ones, the film is too absurd to care about it one way or another.
REVIEWED ON 9/13/2017 GRADE: C
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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