Much like its title, action-thriller Criminal steals 113 minutes of your life and never gives it back.
Criminal continues Kevin Costner’s shockingly unsuccessful run of geri-action movies. It’s a movie so boring and woefully developed that it may be one of the worst action movies of all time.
Things kick off with CIA Agent Bill Pope (Ryan Reynolds) hiding Spanish hacker Jan Stroop (Michael Pitt) in a London safe house. After Pope is killed by an extremist, CIA supervisor Quaker Wells (Gary Oldman) tracks down Dr. Franks (Tommy Lee Jones). Franks, having developed a treatment that can plant memory patterns from dead people into living ones, picks career convict Jericho Stewart (Costner) for the procedure. Jericho must find Stroop before the Euro-trash villains all while zzzzzzz…
Criminal resembles a straight-to-Netflix action-thriller that somehow stumbled into a cinema release. Everything about this production comes off as cheap and
uninspired. Like many underwhelming blockbusters (Survivor, London has
Fallen), the British-capital setting screams of tax breaks. With about 90% of the budget given to the cast, director Ariel Vromen (The Iceman) and screenwriters Douglas Cook and David Wiesberg (The Rock) are left to fumble with every genre trope under the sun – from sci-fi to spy films. Despite the unique premise, the myriad of plot holes, bloated stretches, and underwhelming answers struggle to even warrant a viewing on a hungover Sunday morning.
Bafflingly, Criminal contains some of the least likeable characters in cinema history. Jericho is a childish brute, willingly beating up and murdering innocent civilians at random. His cruel demeanour, and shoddy treatment of Pope’s wife Jill (Gal Gadot) and daughter Emma, would make anyone long for his violent demise. The movie’s CIA agents, political figures, and medical professionals are idiotic and ill tempered, and struggle to keep up with every twist and turn. Sadly, brilliant actors including Kostner, Oldman, Jones, Reynolds etc. look to be wasting their time and ours.
Criminal contains all of Hollywood’s worst impulses; wasting a strong ensemble and intriguing ideas with a poorly executed and irritating final product. I wouldn’t wish this movie on my worst enemies!
Criminal is available in Australian cinemas from May 26
Image courtesy of Roadshow Films