ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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Criminal (2016)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Ariel Vromen

Starring:
Kevin Costner/Jericho
Ryan Reynolds/Bill
Gal Gadot/Jill
Gary Oldman/Quaker
5 10
PLOT-CRUNCH
A criminal named named Jerico (Kevin Costner) on death row with long hair gets sprung out by the government, gets a haircut, infiltrates a prison and eventually spits out: “Welcome to The Rock”! Nah, wrong movie. Same set-up but here, he gets the memories of a CIA agent (Ryan Reynolds) implanted into his brain and becomes more human while good guys and bad guys are on his tail.
THE LOWDOWN

The main reason I was pumped to watch CRIMINAL was KEVIN COSTNER in the lead as I’m a huge fan. Not only is he a fantastic director (Dances with Wolves and Open Range are two of my fav Westerns of all time), he’s also an actor and a movie star made of the older and classier cloth. I have a wish list of people I would love to work with someday and Costner is right up there with Mel Gibson, Sly Stallone and Clint Eastwood. So what about CRIMINAL you may ask? I just went for Costner and I unfortunately can’t say it bowled me over.

CRIMINAL boasted quite the cast! Am talking, Costner (as Jerico, what else would he be named?), Ryan “Deadpool” Reynolds, Gal “Wonder Woman” Gadot, Antje “Faora” Traue, Gary “yelled throughout for that check” Oldman, Tommy Looked Tired Jones, Jordi “shot for 3 days in a room” Mollà and Michael “the constant smoking was the acting” Pitt. Even Scott "did not kick" Adkins and Colin Salmon popped up in bit parts (I had fun playing the “when will Adkins have a f-ing line already” game)! All that to say, even when the movie dropped the ball (whcih was often); I at least had these top-notch thespians going at it to keep me somewhat entertained. Costner’s showcase was definitely the highlight here for me; he boldly played an unlikeable and gleefully violent as bleep psychopath that gradually became more and more human as the clock ticked forward hence more affable.

Costner went for it with gusto (with growls and howls in tow) and put out an arresting show. I wish the lad would have had a crazy role like but in a better movie! Another asset here was director Ariel Vromen’s (who was behind the solid The Iceman in 2012) visual panache. The man has skills as evidenced here, especially when it came to the action scenes (that one on the bridge was nuts), which would inject a shot of adrenaline into what was for the most part a fairly mundane affair. Finally; I dug how they handled Costner having the memories of another man’s life stuck in his head, his character’s evolution from stone cold killer to layered human being was appealing when they focused on it and Costner and Gadot sold the drama they shared, hence elevating their flimsily and a times silly written subplot.

On that; you can toss all the stars in the world into one film and have the most talented of directors behind it, but if the script is not up to snuff; you still will get a ho hum affair. Now I’m hesitant to blame screenwriters for the end result of a film, being that I have learned over the years just how much producers and their trustee scissor-happy editors like to get in there and mess things up (look up the Weinsteins, they’re infamous for that) – so I won’t point any fingers cause the f*ck I know what went down? I will say this though; the chain of events was muddled and filled to the brim with plot holes/dumb moves to serve the plot. Furthermore the villain (who spent the bulk of his time behind a laptop pulling off incredible shit) and the WHY behind the madness (some drivel about having control on weapons) were fairly ZZZzzzz inducing. I honesty didn’t give a shit about that spiel.

And was it me or was there not enough action here? In fact now that I think of it, one way to better CRIMINAL would have been: less time spent on stale hacker/missile/laptop abusing bad guy plot-line and more axis on Kevin Costner kicking that ass! But hey that’s just me. In the end, CRIMINAL wound up being the the kind of film you can't think too hard about afterwards cause the more you do, the more it crumbles. With that stabbed, I can think of worse ways to kill 2 hours than watching Kevin Costner GO BADASS! I do recommend you wait till it comes out on disk if you HAVE TO see it - it's that kind of show in my useless opinion.

GORE
We get some nasty brain surgery bits, a hook in the neck, blood splats and bullet wounds.
T & A
Nada but dang Gal Gadot is easy on the eyes…
BOTTOM LINE
CRIMINAL nade-dropped an out an all-star cast, Kevin Costner at his rugged best, a handful of explosive action scenes and some slick visuals. Too bad it forgot to tell a gripping and cohesive story. The main plot line (bad guy wants flash-drive) didn’t engage me, the whole of it was muddled and the plot holes/dumb moves to serve the plot were too ample. They should have focused further on the Sci-Fi elements and Costner’s character arc instead of that beyond cliched "weapons code" crap. Costner fans should see it at least once for his performance, everybody else can duck it and save their coin. Personally, I’m still holding my breath for the next Kevin Costner big screen Western. It’s been too damn long since Open Range! BRING IT!
BULL'S EYE
Screenwriters David Weisberg and Douglas Cook also penned the awesome The Rock (1996) and the meh Double Jeopardy (1999).

Brian Tyler and Keith Power replaced Haim Mazarand scored the movie.
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