Combustible Celluloid
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With: Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman, Tommy Lee Jones, Ryan Reynolds, Alice Eve, Gal Gadot, Michael Pitt, Jordi Molla, Antje Traue, Scott Adkins, Amaury Nolasco, Danny Webb, Colin Salmon, Lara DeCaro
Written by: Douglas Cook, David Weisberg
Directed by: Ariel Vromen
MPAA Rating: R for strong violence and language throughout
Running Time: 113
Date: 04/15/2016

Criminal (2016)

1 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Brain Drain

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Trying to explain what happens in this movie is bad enough — you begin to trip all the things that make no sense — but then you're left with the clumsy, jumbled, thoughtless way it's all put together. Stories of characters receiving body parts or organs from mysterious donors have been done, but they are usually told as second-tier chillers, with a measure of fun. Criminal is told seriously, without ever really considering the emotional ramifications of what would happen if a man had another man's thoughts and feelings inside his head.

In London, CIA agent Bill Pope (Ryan Reynolds) is killed on the job before he can finish an important task. A computer hacker called the Dutchman (Michael Pitt) with access to the entire arsenal of the United States military has escaped from an anarchist, and only Bill knew where he was. So Dr. Franks (Tommy Lee Jones) applies a special technique, transferring Bill's memories into the brain of sociopathic prisoner Jericho (Kevin Costner). Jericho escapes and begins experiencing Bill's memories, even visiting Bill's widow (Gal Gadot). Jericho decides to try to find the Dutchman and a bag of money, but the anarchist's henchmen — as well as the CIA — are hot on his trail.

Poor Gadot, playing the widow Jill Pope, is asked to try, and her weird acceptance of Jericho feels totally false. But she's not the only one who suffers in this movie. Gary Oldman's character, the chief of the London branch of the CIA, is constantly doing incredibly stupid things, and Alice Eve has no character at all to play. Director Ariel Vromen, who did a decent job with The Iceman (especially with its female supporting role), seems totally at a loss with this one.

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