Criminal (2016) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Great cast but otherwise nothing new

Directed by Ariel Vromen this 2016 film has a runtime of 113 minutes and has a cast of A-List Hollywood player to delight. On it’s release this film received extremely mixed reviews; some calling it a dark cult classic, while others suggesting it is just an updated version of the 1997 John Travolta and Nicolas Cage cult classic “Face/Off”, or other body swap sci-fi films.

Brief plot: The memories of a killed CIA operative are put into the brain of a criminal in order to stop World War 3.

Detailed plot: CIA operative Bill Pope is killed in the line of duty while trying to track down shadowy hacker, “The Dutchman”. Using an experimental procedure Pope’s memories are transferred into the head of dangerous convict Jericho Stewart.Stewart begins his mission with Pope’s memories leading the way, but things get complicated, especially when the memories get more powerful and more real. Considering Pope’s knowledge of America’s Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles he becomes a target for the CIA as well as the anarchists he was supposed to be stopping.

Film Stuff: This action thriller was mainly filmed in the centre of London, but some scenes were filmed in Hampshire, Croydon and Surrey too. Written by Douglas Cook and David Weisberg, with cinematography by Dana Gonzales and editing by Danny Rafic. Haim Mazar was initially signed up to do the musical score, but was replaced by Brian Tyler and Keith Power.

A budget of $31.5 million mean that this was never going to be a big budget blockbuster, but instead a more character driven film. Unfortunately, with global box-office takings at $38.8 million this film was seen as a commercial flop.

Cast: With Kevin Costner, Ryan Reynolds, Gal Gadot, Tommy Lee Jones, Alice Eve and Gary Oldman heading the casting, you’ve already got some real big hitters in this film. They all do a decent job, but then, director Vromen seems to have the entire cast bringing convincing performances. Costner is the real stand out here, starting fairly empty and void of life he grunts his ways through a rollercoaster of emotions and feelings until he convinces us that he’s a changed and learned character. It’s a nice ark of character development as his dangerous persona feels love and family and ends the film a different person from what he started.

Wrap up: This film was OK, but just OK rather than anything special. With other sci-fi action films having similar plots where there is some kind of a body swap the concept in this film is nothing new. Lot of action with plenty of violence and bloodshed doesn’t save a bland script and unoriginal story with lots of plot holes. The best thing this film has going for it really is the stellar cast of actors who all do a decent job with what they have been given. Rated 15 in the UK and R in the USA, this film certainly isn’t for the younger audiences. Like I said, it was OK, but that all really, nothing new, nothing revolutionary, nothing that’s going to leave a permanent mark on the face of Hollywood films. At best, this is a 6 out of 10.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (6/10)

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