Having an all-star cast doesn’t necessarily guarantee a good movie, and such is the case with Criminal. With leads like Kevin Costner (playing Jericho Stewart), Gary Oldman (Quaker Wells), Gal Gadot (Jill Pope), and Ryan Reynolds (Bill Pope), it looked like a promising movie with a decent plot. Yet this movie, which was reminiscent of Face/Off and the Bourne series, falls short mostly due to the large amount of plot holes that are left unresolved.
It starts off with an introduction to Bill Pope (Reynolds) being chased through London, which is where this movie takes place. It is only over time and through piecing it together that you understand why he was being chased at all. Reynold’s role is short-lived, as we come to find that the main star of this feature will be Jericho (Costner). He turns out to be a grunting character, who at times is hard to understand. Costner does the best he can with what he has to work with, which doesn’t seem to be much. Quaker (Oldman), who is the CIA Chief operative in charge is trying to extract information from Jericho, spending most of his time yelling out his dialogue rather than performing it as most actors would. It seems that Quaker and Jericho are just the average two-dimensional action characters with little done to further develop them, and both Costner and Oldman are aware of this.
Both characters are subjected to your average action movie tropes. Jericho goes from being an emotionless killer to someone who grows a conscience and thinks about who and why he kills. Quaker starts out being the distrusting lawman who always wants to get the job done himself and in the end somewhat ends up trusting others to do the job for him, yet the constant yelling never stops with his particular character.Jill Pope (Gadot) is the one character in the film that has some merit to her in terms of character and development; she seems to be the only one who puts a human aspect into the film. Granted, having a minor role in the movie doesn’t do much in terms of screen time, so Jill showing up on screen is nice, but her scenes are few and far between.
In terms of the plot holes Criminal has quite a few of these throughout the movie. Some you will just accept because they are part of the regular action tropes like having Wifi everywhere in order to be able to use laptops anywhere during the movie to follow people. Another is just accepting the fact that the main villain somehow knows right off the bat who their new target is to get the information they need to fulfill their devious plans. The ease with which the CCTV systems throughout the city of London get used and manipulated to find people via “hacking” is outstanding and seems way too easy. All is done via a Toughbook, a notoriously slow laptop, in any location without ever having a drop on Wifi, or so it seems. There are other issues with the movie, yet others are not as bad as these in my opinion because they don’t affect the plot as much as the technology plot holes do. In this day and age everyone is aware of the limitations of technology, and you really have to stretch your imagination to achieve the suspension of disbelief necessary to enjoy this film.
The pacing of the film was the typical action movie pacing. It starts out right at the action then slows down a bit to explain some of the plot, and it keeps following that pattern throughout the movie. The times the film does slow down for exposition or character development it seems to lack dialogue, as well as something else, a special something if you will, that many action movies tend to have. Drama, perhaps, or some sense of intrigue. The action scenes are great, but the non-action scenes are very forgettable and bland. I found myself fighting the feeling of zoning out during the non-action scenes in particular and despite my best attempts can’t even remember all the boring exposition scenes. Yet the overall pacing of Criminal was fine, taking us from action scene to action scene. That alone is why I enjoyed the movie overall and accepted the flaws; it’s an action movie and so to an extent theses flaws are expected. All things considered, it’s a solid action movie, and that’s all there really is to it.
|Release Date:||April 15th, 2016|