* * C
Criminal is a science fiction thriller with an all star cast. The premise is that when CIA agent Bill Pope (Ryan “Deadpool” Reynolds) is killed by an anarchist plotting world mayhem, the only way to recover his memory of where he has stashed the man who has the ability to control the American nuclear arsenal is to use an experimental technology developed by a scientist (Tommy Lee “K” Jones) to transfer his memories into another man. Unfortunately, the only suitable man, Jerico Stewart (Kevin “the Mariner” Costner), is a vicious psychopath.
I love the premise, which poses the existential question “is a man more than the sum of his memories”. The cast is rounded out by Gary “Dracula” Oldman as the CIA chief, and Gal “Wonderwoman” Gadot as Pope’s widow. I’m not sure why this film didn’t deliver on it’s promise. The writing was a little formulaic, but there were enough twists and turns that it wasn’t merely a trope suspense thriller with the science fiction premise grafted on. I’d say a big part of the blame has to go to the writing/acting of Costner’s character. He doesn’t have the charm of Dexter or Hannibal, but is played more as a stupid, ruthless killer.