Saturday, 23 April 2016

Criminal (2016)

When CIA (the 'I', evidently, does not stand for 'Intelligence') Bill Pope (Ryan Reynolds) is killed in London, his superiors transfer his memories into violent convict Jericho Stewart (Kevin Costner) in the hopes that they can extract the information that died with Bill. Jericho escapes, but finds himself conflicted about what his is doing as the new memories and skills interfere with with his established personality. So this is basically 'Self/Less' again. Oh joy.

A cast of recognisable names are thrown together into this ridiculous action film that gives the very strong impression that it thinks it is doing a good job. You can see it patting itself on its back. I don't know why though. It's an atrocious film.

As a London-set film about Americans, 'Criminal' starts by using the wisdom from 'London Has Fallen', in that it reminds the world how useless anyone is in the city just so the 'hero' (more on that later) can put a stop to the troublemakers running amok in the capital. And who is the lead troublemaker? Some angry Spaniard who we are meant to believe is some master hacker. He's not very menacing or convincing. But he's the least of the film's problems, most of which come back to its attitude towards the central character.

And who is this central character? Why, it's Costner's Jericho, a violent criminal who murders his way to what he wants. Which the film initially implies is not a nice thing to do but, once Bill's memories are implanted, the attitude changes. Jericho is still the same person, just with added memories now. And we're expected to sympathise with him and see him as the hero.

What makes this worse is the inclusion of Bill's wife and daughter bit as they bond, after a bit of hesitation, with Jericho and all is good in the world. You watch it really hoping the film isn't going to go down that stupid route but knowing it will. And it does. And the film treats it seriously as if it is some great and emotional bit of storytelling that we're meant to care about. It's demented. It's infuriating.

Padding out the rest of the film is some action stuff and Gary Oldman embarrassing himself (though he does seem to be the only one who has clued into how silly the film is). It's dull stuff that, again, the film seems to think it is doing well. I couldn't really care less for any of it. It's dumb stuff and those involved don't seem to be aware how bad and ill-thought out it all is.

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