Directed by Ariel Vromen
Written by Douglas Cook and David Weisberg
Starring: Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman, Tommy Lee Jones, Alice Eve, Gal Gadot, Michael Pitt, Jordi Mollà, Antje Traue, Scott Adkins, Amaury Nolasco, and Ryan Reynolds
Watching “Criminal” I could not help but get a sense of déjà vu because Ryan Reynolds has already made this movie, last year, it was called “Self/less” and it was underwhelming. “Criminal” and “Self/less” have the same premise, putting the memories of a dead man into someone else; which in turn was also the premise of the 1966 “Seconds.”
The biggest problem with “Criminal” is that the movie is the wrong kind of movie. The best thing that “Criminal” could have done was to nix the “Seconds” and “Self/less” thing and make a political espionage thriller based on the Dutchman MacGuffin. Making a film based around the MacGuffin would have been a better movie because that movie would have been about surveillance, cyber security, and even an allegory for the Snowden thing. The Dutchman thread was the only part of the film that was remotely interesting. Instead of a would be espionage thriller you end up with a second-rate action movie.
As an action movie, “Criminal” fails because the action scenes are dull. In an action movie, the action scenes are supposed to keep you engaged in the film while the story bridges the action scenes together. In “Criminal” the action scenes are not only unengaging, but they are the worst thing you can label an action scene: generic. When an action scene started, I thought to myself “oh, another action scene.”
To its credit “Criminal does sport a talented cast, however, the talents of the cast is wasted in a mediocre movie. No one in the cast gets a chance to shine. Most of the characters hardly get any screen time, and many of them are killed off quickly.