FlixChatter Review: CRIMINAL (2016)


For the last couple of years, Hollywood is giving Kevin Costner another shot at being a box office draw. Unfortunately all the films he starred in as the lead mustered very little box office returns and looks like that trend will continue with his new action thriller.

After a botched mission, CIA agent Bill Pope (Ryan Reynolds) was killed and his boss Quaker Wells (Gary Oldman) needs to know what happened. Pope was going to bring in a hacker named Jan Stroop (Michael Pitt) who has the possession of a very powerful technology that can destroy the world. In order to find out what happened and locate Stroop, Wells contacted Dr. Franks (Tommy Lee Jones) who’s an expert at transferring memory cells from one being to another. Dr. Franks decided to choose a very dangerous criminal named Jericho Stewart (Kevin Costner) to receive Pope’s memory.

After the brain operation, Stewart told Wells and Franks that he doesn’t have Pope’s memory inside him, this of course was a lie since Stewart has own agenda after seeing flashes of what happened to Pope before he died. Wells was furious and told his men to take Stewart back to prison. But Stewart was able to escape and he’s on the run not only from CIA agents but a very powerful man named Hagbardaka Heimbahl (Spanish actor Jordi Mollà) and his assassins.

With the successes of the Jason Bourne films, seems like many spy action films have tried to copy those films. And this one is no exception, we get the usual CIA folks tracking our hero through surveillance cameras, car chases and hand to hand combat. I did like the script by Douglas Cook and David Weisberg, they tried to bring some new ideas to a familiar genre. Unfortunately the pacing of the movie is a bit uneven and I think the blame should go to director Ariel Vromen. He doesn’t seem to know if he wants to make a gritty action thriller or dramatic thriller. Also, this may not be his fault because of the movie’s very low budget but the action sequences were poorly staged and ended way too quickly. I did appreciate that he didn’t shy away from making the violent scenes very bloody, I miss seeing R-rated action films.

Performances wise, the movie belongs to Costner and he’s quite good here. At first his character starts out as a very despicable person but of course he becomes the hero and saves the world as the movie progresses. Oldman and Jones didn’t have much to do and same can be said of Gal Gadot.

This is the kind of action movie that probably best-suited for a TV movie of the week or straight to home video. It’s too bad though, with a cast like this, you’d think the final product would be something special.



Have you seen CRIMINAL? Well, what did you think?

21 thoughts on “FlixChatter Review: CRIMINAL (2016)

    1. It’s a shame that the final product was so lame, it goes to show that good cast doesn’t equal good movie if the people behind the cameras aren’t that talented.

    1. Thanks Cindy, yeah it’s a shame that the movie was pretty weak. As I mentioned earlier, good casting doesn’t mean the movie will be good if the people behind the cameras aren’t that talented.

    1. I like Costner too but he made some awful films. The Postman, Waterworld, 3000 Miles to Graceland and so on are some good examples of bad films he starred in. I think his big ego probably got the best of him, he’s on top of the box office world back in the late 80s and early 90s. I assume he thought he can make any kind of movie and people will go see it, of course he was quite wrong.

        1. Wow, I had totally forgotten about Dragonfly. Like, wiped it from my brain.

          Now a very ill-advised part of me wants to watch it again, thanks to this comment…

  1. Meh. Not looking like something I will be rushing to see. Seems okay, but not worth a cinema trip, or tracking it down to see it when it releases for DVD.

  2. jackdeth72

    Hi, Ted:

    Is it just me, or were Mr. Costner’s best roles in Kasdan’s ‘The Big Chill’ and ‘Silverado’?

    A universally uninspiring actor.

    1. Hey Jack, lol yeah those earlier roles of his were much better than his later roles. I think the last movie of his that I really enjoy was Open Range, which he starred in and directed it himself. I think he’s better suited as a director and he should consider doing that from now on.

  3. This felt like a “so bad it’s good” kind of movie, especially Gary Oldman’s very big performance as a relentlessly stupid character. So much of this movie doesn’t even happen if Oldman’s character was at least competent.

  4. I read a review that suggested that Criminal’s director should have taken a cue from Luc Besson– make a ridiculous movie, but for goodness sake, make it fun.

    Criminal was not nearly as fun as it should have been, and therefore its cinematic sins cannot be forgiven.

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