Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini


Michael Shannon, Ryan Reynolds, Gary Oldman, Kevin Costner, Tommy Lee Jones

Rated: R for strong violence and language throughout.
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: April 8, 2016 Released by: Summit Entertainment

Hardly banal, but totally ludicrous in an amusing way is Kevin Costner's new ill-advised actioner Criminal set in London.

Directed by Ariel Vromen (noticeably down from the intriguing fact-based thriller starring Michael Shannon, Iceman though not really that culpable) in deadpan fashion there is a goofiness inherent in this shifty enterprise that for some may harken back to Costner's woefully and forgotten sanguine tale of Sin City Elvis impersonating robbery 3000 Miles To Graceland.

This picture seems to borrow from the likes of The Bourne Identity as a downed CIA agent Bill Pope (Ryan Reynolds) by a Spanish fanatic has what's left of his subconscious downloaded into the conflicted cerebrum of Costner's incarcerated madman Jericho Stewart. Of course he's the right kind of individual to get the job done for the organizational head honcho played with little interest by Gary Oldman (Robocop, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes).

It's a reunion of sorts for Costner, Oldman, and Tommy Lee Jones as the neurosurgeon doing the delicately key procedure for those recalling Oliver Stone's controversial, multi-faceted JFK. But, kind of like Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino in Righteous Kill when considering the vapidity allotted on the screen by Vromen.

Suffice to say, a deranged Stewart goes rogue on the trail of a cyberpunk (Michael Pitt), as well as Pope's mourning, invasive wife Jill (Gal Gadot of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice) causing all kinds of upheaval. Criminal does what it can to maximize the lurid mayhem to sate the prominent multiplex demographic without them playing too much with their snazzy iPhones.

Some may enjoy the native twang in line readings often risible as Criminal is as a whole with a few cameos along the way. Here's the case of cinema never really having fun with its silly premise to make it more of a guilty pleasure like the crisper if callous Shoot 'Em Up. Indeed, a case where a rational transplant was in dire need.

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