Director: Ariel Vromen
Cast: Kevin Costner, Ryan Reynolds, Gal Gadot, Tommy Lee Jones, Gary Oldman
Riddled with scientific challenges, this thriller operates on a futuristic premise set in today's times. Israeli-born director Ariel ('The Iceman') Vroman's 'Criminal' has two principal characters playing to a catch-me-if-you-can chase set-up fashioned out of a preposterous ideation. The CIA headed by Quaker Wells (Gary Oldman) is in a piquant situation caused by its own high-handed ways. In a last-ditch effort to stop a diabolical plot, a dead CIA operative Pope's (Ryan Reynolds) memories, secrets, and skills are implanted into a death-row inmate, Jericho Stewart (Kevin Costner) in the hopes that he will complete the operative's mission.
Watch the trailer of 'Criminal'
Stewart is shown to be so dangerous a psychopath that he is kept chained up in a high security environment. The explanation given for his inhuman traits is also ridiculously inane. Thrown from a moving car as a child he sustained damage to the frontal lobe of his brain, which left him incapable of feeling empathy or remorse. So his choice as ideal candidate for the memory transfer is imminently questionable. Even more so when the transfer doesn't take-off as planned and Jericho escapes and recovers enough memory to follow the money trail of the dead agent's last and fatal outing.
The reasoning behind this implausible measure is that Well's wants to locate The Dutchman (Michael Pitt), a hacker who has attracted Heimdahl's attention after compromising the defence systems of the world's global powers - before Heimdahl or the Russians do.
Far-fetched it is and quite absurd too. Thankfully Vromen's absurdist fantasy is quite self-aware. The film has four villains expending vicious forms of villainy with no real hero to root for. And it expects the audience to have a change of heart towards the end when Jericho redeems himself with an antagonist to protagonist 'Pope' makeover. And that's a hard ask-especially after presenting him as ruthless, heartless and totally inhuman to start with and plenty of collateral damage to justify. The science of it is undoubtedly silly, plot holes and inconsistencies are too many so it's mainly up to the strong cast and their individual charismas to work out some likeability. Unfortunately it's not enough to keep you rooted in your seats through the near two-hour flakily eventful runtime.