A high school swim champion with a troubled past enrolls in the U.S. Coast Guard's "A" School, where legendary rescue swimmer Ben Randall teaches him some hard lessons about loss, love, and self-sacrifice.
Bill Pope (Ryan Reynolds) is a CIA agent on a mission in London tracking down a shadowy hacker nicknamed "The Dutchman." When he gets mysteriously ambushed and killed, an experimental procedure is used to transfer his memories into dangerous convict Jericho Stewart (Kevin Costner). When he wakes up with the CIA agent's memories, his mission is to find The Dutchman and make the deal with him before the hacker launches ICBM's and starts World War III. But complications soon arise and the mission turns personal.
Kevin Costner has starred in two recent spy films, they being 3 Days to Kill (2014) and Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (2014). In both of these movies, Costner portrayed a U.S. Government secret agent. With Criminal (2016), Costner inhabits the memory of one. Costner has now starred in three espionage thrillers which all have debuted within three years. See more »
In the opening chase sequence, the cabbie's license photo appears on the screen before Quaker Wells has finished entering the plate number. When he finishes typing it in, the license is shown again as Wells reads the name. See more »
They messed with my brain. Thought they knew what they'd get, but they were wrong. They don't know me. I do not know what happens next, but this I do know: you hurt me... I hurt you worse.
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"You hurt me I hurt you worse." Jericho (Kevin Costner)
Costner is the titular bad guy, who is implanted with the memory of deceased CIA operative, Bill Pope (Ryan Gosling—don't expect to see much of him as he dies early), and spends the better part of Criminal dealing with emotions new to him. It's a film rife with clichés but engaging largely because Costner is believable as a monster turned humanist. And the supporting cast is first-rate.
While this thriller is rife with electronics ( the bad guy has hacked into the USA's military computer system), the humanism is what strikes me as satisfying: not just Jericho's assuming Pope's affections but also Gary Oldman's CIA officer, Quaker Wells, sliding into a rage and Jordi Malla's head terrorist, Xavier, just being cool. I also must acknowledge that the growing affection between Jericho and Pope's widow, Jill (Gal Gadot), is believable if not just as improbable as their planting her deceased husband's thoughts and memories in Jericho.
In thrillers like Criminal, we've seen before the action sequences with vulnerable helicopters, racing cop cars, and ominous computer screens. What we haven't seen much of is a bad-boy hero who captures our sympathy immediately so that we care what happens to him regardless of the mayhem he causes in his journey. Costner has the stature and mien to carry this ambiguous hero right into our hearts.
"You don't remember me but I remember you," says young daughter, Emma Pope (Lara Decaro). Out of the mouths of babes come wisdom and the hope of love for a soulless murderer whose life is transformed by modern technology. Who would have thought technology could grant humanity? Besides, it's fun.
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