[There are quite a few spoilers in this review]
I want to start off this review by saying, if you are heading to watch this movie in the hopes that you’ll get to see nearly 2 hours of Ryan Reynolds, you’re going to be bitterly disappointed. Me and my friend headed to see this film on its release date, not expecting much but definitely expecting to see Ryan. So we were a bit dismayed when *spoiler alert* he is was killed off after 15 minutes. His character, Will Pope is integral to the plot and his ‘memories’ live on in the film, so to throw some light on that event, he pops up quite a bit in the movie through flashbacks and memories.
Will Pope has information about the whereabouts of an Edward Snowden type character called Jan Stroop or ‘The Dutchman’ (Michael Pitt, who I’ve always found a bit creepy ever since I saw him in Funny Games). He is sought out by a team led by Quaker Wells (Gary Oldman) and Marta Lynch (Alice Eve). However, every movie has to contain some element of conflict so of course another team are also looking for the same guy, they are consequently led by a Spanish Anarchist, Xavier Heimdahl (Jordi Molla). To throw another spanner in the works, Quaker cannot retrieve the information needed to stop a deadly plot from a dead man, this is where the films main narrative focus comes into play.
Quaker communicates to Dr. Franks (Tommy Lee Jones) that he wants Pope’s memories, skills and secrets implanted into someone. This someone just happens to be a psychopath, Jericho Stewart (Kevin Costner) who has no sense of right or wrong. Even so, the surgery goes successfully and after a couple of last ditch efforts on Stewart’s part, he is free. Free to kill, steal vans and terrorise the local chippy. Little does he know that Pope’s memories are pulling him towards The Dutchman. This leads him to Pope’s home where he comes across his wife, Jill (Batman VS Superman’s Gal Gadot) and child, Emma.
Okay, so after an hour of this film, I’m pretty sure I’m getting deja vu from one of Ryan’s previous films, Self/less. A film in which a mans memories are implanted into Ryan’s character, Mark. Unfortunately Mark’s memories start pushing through and we are given snapshots and flashbacks of his wife and kid. In some way, I felt that Criminal was a bit of a rip off in that respect and clearly why Reynolds was attracted to it. After an hour and fifty mins, lo and behold, Jericho has feelings. Those pesky emotions that humans have unfortunately made him take action into his own hands and save the day, and Jill.
There are some particularly interesting moments in this film and I enjoyed the narrative however half way through, I was beginning to question where the story was actually going as if seemed to go back on itself quite a bit. Not to mention, the characters seemed fickle and pushy. Personally, it could have had a tiny bit more action and it would have been pretty outstanding. My aim is not to document the whole film to you however, it was very entertaining and despite the narrative kerfuffle, the pacing was nice. I’m also sure superhero fans will enjoy having a film consisting of Wonder Woman, Deadpool, Commissioner Gorden, Jonathan Kent, Colonel Philips etc. It would be criminal for you to miss it. Little joke there for you.