Film review: ‘Criminal’


Two stars

Criminal Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman, Gal Gadot. Directed by Ariel Vromen. Rated R. Opens Friday citywide.

Last year, Ryan Reynolds starred in moronic sci-fi thriller Self/less, about a terminally ill businessman who has his mind transferred into the body of a healthy younger man (played by Reynolds). In the equally moronic Criminal, Reynolds himself plays the brain donor, a CIA agent killed in action before divulging crucial information. Thanks to an experimental (and nonsensical) procedure, his memories are implanted into the mind of murderous psychopath Jericho Stewart (Kevin Costner), who of course is the only person with the proper brain chemistry for the process to work. After a fairly tense opening featuring Reynolds, the movie gets bogged down in an incoherent terrorism plot, along with absurdly sappy scenes of Jericho discovering human emotions (complete with gauzy family-album flashbacks). Costner has a few strong moments as a gleeful killer, but he can’t reconcile that side of the character with the burgeoning hero. Eventually, he stops trying, but the movie has given up long before him.

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