When I first saw this film show up on HBO, I saw that it starred Ryan Reynolds and it seemed interesting. I didn't have the time to watch it then, so I hit my DVR record button to watch, um, later. A year later.
Criminal (2016) stars Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman, Tommy Lee Jones, Ryan Reynolds, Jordi Molia, Gal Gadot, Michael Pitt, Alice Eve and more. I mean, that's one hell of a collection of actors, right?
It was directed by Ariel Vromen (The Iceman, Rx and the upcoming: Rambo: New Blood).
"In a last-ditch effort to stop a diabolical plot, a dead CIA operative's memories, secrets, and skills are implanted into a death-row inmate in hopes that he will complete the operative's mission."
So what happens in this film is that it opens up with Bill Pope (Reynolds) being chased down by the bad guys wanting something and in the end, they catch and kill him trying to extract information from him.
Then we turn to the agency Pope worked for, where his boss, Quaker Wells (Oldman) needs that info at all costs, so he hires a Dr. Franks (Jones) to conduct an experiment on any felon out there, so they can get the information that Pope had.
That experiment is transplanting memories from a dead brain in to a living one. They pick this soulless, cold-hearted murderer named Jerico Stewart (Costner) to stuff the memories into, knowing that it may very well kill him. But who cares, right?
But one thing leads to another and with Pope's memories, Jerico escapes.
Now the good guys and the bad guys want what is in his head. But while on the run, this cold-hearted killer starts experiencing memories and feelings that aren't his, though he mostly remains who he is.
This leads him to take shelter at Pope's home, with Pope's wife (Gadot) and child. But the old Jerico would have killed them without hesitation, but the new Jerico's wiring makes it so that these two would he the last people on Earth he'd hurt.
The rest of the film embraces the bad guy turning good, the good guys chasing him down, the bad guys chasing him down and he himself, figuring out the fragmented clues in his head that leads him to what everyone, including himself, is looking for.
In the end... OH, no, that would be a spoiler!!! LOL.
This is your standard kind of action spy movie with a bit of a twist with the memory implantation. It caught my attention at first because Reynolds wasn't being a sarcastic ass in this one, which is weird to see.
Gary Oldman is good in any character he plays, but he was limited in this role, but I still like him.
Tommy Lee Jones plays a doctor and not some kind of agent like he usually does, which was weird but good, all at once.
But the 'hit it out of the park' casting and portrayal goes to Kevin Costner. We've seen Costner in a number of different films and roles, ranging from The Bodyguard, Dances with Wolves, Robin Hood Prince of Thieves and The Postman. But this role of Jerico, he nailed.
Starting from a clean slate of portraying a cold-blooded killer with zero remorse and a gravelly voice, Costner delivers that character perfectly. Then to watch him get and fight feelings and emotions is a bit of a pleasure. The feelings don't all come at once. It's a slow trickle, but it's there and to be honest, I think Costner made Jerico the perfect character as he gets emotions and gets pissed off and frustrated when he does things like says 'thank you' or other niceties.
I had fun watching this film, but it could have been because I came into it blind not expecting anything, versus the expectations fans sometimes build up about a film before seeing it.
Either way, I found myself riveted to the story enough to enjoy. I'd easily give it a popcorn 7, and if you're a Costner fan, I think you will totally enjoy this flick.
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