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Criminal review

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Summit entertainment


R. 112 min



Okay we've talked about this before. It's nothing new because well, it's the movies and the movies are a place for telling fantastic tales. You almost always have to leave reality at the door and take a little liberty with what is and what isn't possible. The star-studded CRIMINAL is no exception.


It seems like a run of the mill action thriller with a terrorist and a network of people trying to track him down and foil the attack. Well yes, that's kind of the idea; somebody is going to, oh I don't remember, blow up the world or something, and an extortionist can probably stop it if 10 million bucks and a passport change hands. Simple enough I guess. I was thinking that 10 million bucks and a passport is kind of small pickings for a fellow with the ability to blow up the world and so it is. It seems that the hacker, known as the Dutchman just works for an even worse guy and has been under surveillance by a special agent from some anti bad guy wing of the CIA. The bad news is that particular agent winds up getting tortured almost to death before, well you know. The bad news for the antagonist is that the special agent (Ryan Reynolds) still has a little bit of brain activity and here's where it gets silly.


There is a brilliant doctor (Tommy Lee Jones in not much more than a cameo) who has been working on and amazing piece of research in which one can actually hotwire the brain of one person into the brain of another kind of like transferring information through a USB cable or something equally goofy


So now the head of the agency and something of an asshole , (Gary Oldman) has decided to make this doctor perform the procedure from the invilid agent into a guinea pig. Not a real guinea pig but in lieu of a normal human subject they've chosen a psychotic sociopath played by Kevin Costner. Did I mention that the doctor claims his procedure can't be understood for years? And did I mention the CIA wants it done today? Guess how smoothly that goes.


So right there is problem number one. Everybody loves Kostner and he's made a pretty good career out of his natural charisma. That means it's a little bit tough for me to buy into him as Jericho, a psycho killer, even with a Travis Bickle haircut. Second I'm not really sure why the CIA boss is such a prick except for the idea that the agent whose memories have been transferred into Jericho seems to think he's been betrayed.


At any rate all the memories of the dead agent of his wife and child and betrayed by the CIA and information about where to find the Dutchman are all swirling around Jericho's head as the race is on to forestall the end of the world.


Another aspect is the relationship between Jericho and the dead agents widow and child. I don't think they spent enough time on that and it never really caught fire, even though their role as hostages added to the climax.


I guess I was a little disappointed that CRIMINAL never rose above mediocrity especially with such an outstanding cast.


But without a great story it's kind of like hiring Albert Einstein to teach junior high school math.






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