It Is Criminal That "Criminal" Is Not a Huge Hit

Movie Review - Jackie K Cooper
"Criminal" (Summit)

"Criminal" is so close to being a hit movie movie that it is criminal it falls short. You can't pin the blame on the cast. Kevin Costner, Gal Gadot, Gary Oldman, Ryan Reynolds and Tommy Lee Jones are all spot on with their characterizations. So that would leave the script, but it holds up pretty well even in retrospect. No gaping holds jump out at you. So that leaves the director, Ariel Vromen. He is pretty much in charge of things and so if the movie isn't paced right, it is his fault. If there are some glitches in the photography then he should have caught them.

Since the main players in the film have been seen in other big hit movies this summer playing Deadpool (Reynolds), Wonder Woman (Gadot) and Superman's dad (Costner) you should have a cast that can attract a crowd. Costner and Gadot have major roles in the movie with Reynolds making a virtual cameo appearance (and why?).

Costner plays Jericho, a man who has been locked up in prison for so long they have thrown away the key. When a CIA operative is killed vital information dies with him. However the brilliant Dr. Franks (Tommy Lee Jones) thinks he knows a way of getting the dead man's memories back. In some kind of scientific hocus pocus he manages to transfer them into Jericho's brain. It takes a while to work but as it is all sorting out the same people who killed the CIA agent now want Jericho for themselves.

Gadot plays a widow with a child who gets involved with Jericho. His emotional attachment to her places his life in jeopardy from both the CIA and the opposing bad guys. It gets a little tricky to understand but it all makes sense in the end.

This is a great role for Costner to play as it offers him a chance to show the range of his acting skills. When first met he is a raging psychopath who has no emotions in his makeup. But as the develops the memories of the dead agent he becomes more human and humane. It is a slow shift in personality and it is fascinating to watch.

As Jill, Gadot is able to demonstrate why people are so excited about the upcoming full length Wonder Woman movie. She is beautiful for starters, and quite a good actress which is also important. She is able to win audiences over to her side quickly and keep them there. She is not however the only pretty face in this movie. Alice Eve is also part of the cast as a CIA employee. Her role in the film is brief and she is missed once she leaves the film.

The film is rated R for violence and profanity.

Overall the movie keeps the audience entertained from start to finish, but it never packs that real emotional punch it needs. It comes close a time or two but always manages to pull back before it connects. It does have some clever moments though especially towards the end.

If Kevin Costner was the big star he once was this movie would be a huge success, but these days he has to give more than just a good performance. He has to rock the house. "Criminal" ends up being better than average but not a major hit - and that's criminal.

I scored "Criminal" a paroled 6 out of 10.

Jackie K Cooper