'Criminal' [Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD]
(Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman, Tommy Lee Jones, Alice Eve and Gal Gadot, et al / Blu-Ray+DVD+Digital HD / R / 2016 / Summit Entertainment)
Overview: In a last-ditch effort to stop a diabolical plot, a dead CIA operative's memories, secrets, and skills are implanted into a death-row inmate in hopes that he will complete the operative's mission.
Blu-Ray Verdict: 'Criminal' on paper looks like a safe bet, it's produced by super 'B' movie producer Avi Lerner (Olympus/London has fallen, Expendables) has an A list cast and a much worn premise, along the lines of Face Off or Ryan Reynolds lukewarm thriller from 2015 Self/less, involving body/mind swap sci-fi, while being set in a present day surrounding.
The premise, Reynolds young spy has his memory's implanted into Kevin Costners gruff, violent criminal by Dr Tommy Lee Jones, overseen by mostly shouty Spy boss Gary Oldman, to stop some bad men doing bad things with hacking and missiles. Costner's criminal escapes and goes on a bit of a rampage through London whilst also wrestling his own violent nature against Reynolds softer character traits seeping through (so basically he's got a bit of a split personality going on).
In other words it's a silly high concept plot line to effectively have Costner run around a city, beat up some bad guys, get into shoot outs, chases and save the day. He also along the way tracks down Gal Gadot who is Reynolds wife, and by far the best at delivering anything near a believable character, followed by Tommy Lee Jones (in a very restrained role) in a very mixed bag of a movie.
The film was made for around 30 million dollars, so don't expect much big blockbuster action, although the few car chases and explosions there are, are done decently, the film still at times feels quite cheap. The pace is a little off as well as its a bit of a slog and feels longer than it should at times.
In terms of tone it's violent, full of bad language, and seems to think both of those pass as humour, they don't in the context they are used in this film and are frankly pretty misjudged. The performances vary, by far the worst being Gary Oldman who whilst normally excellent simply feels like he's in another film altogether at times, he literally shouts his scenes of dialogue at times when it seems a quieter authority would have been better suited.
As for leading man Costner, he's playing a pretty unlikeable fella here, so you would expect the filmmakers to try and inject some charm for an audience to sympathize or grow some kind of emotional attachment, but no Costner simply grunts and swears through most scenes in a gruff lazy drool, he's watchable as always but doesn't have much to work with here, though they do try to have him form a Bond with mother and child later on its quite late in proceedings.
There's some good touches, Gal Gadot brings out a softer side of Costner's character, there's a decent mix of Electro music and the film score used is atmospheric, some of the visuals are decent, shots of London for example and the action scenes whilst only short bursts are clear to see and not confusing and finally there's the thriller plot aspect of the story that plays like a standard spy/action thriller as our (anti) hero must set out to stop the villains and save the girl.
In closing, mixed performances, misplaced serious tone with violent outbursts of humor, some decent action but a bit of misguided film, watchable, not terrible but quite frustrating given the fact there's a better movie in there that could of got out. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
"Criminal Intent" Featurette
Director's Notes Featurette
Madsonik's "Drift and Fall Again" Music Video