I want to start this review off with the real reason I wanted to see this film: Gal Gadot. I have a massive girl crush on her and I don't care who knows it. She was the saving grace, for me, in Batman v Superman. So I literally had no issue whatsoever seeing her again in Criminal.
Onto the review.
This is so much more than an action flick it's unbelievable. The film starts with Bill Pope (Ryan Reynolds) rushing through Germany on a CIA mission. He contacts his handlers and lets them know that someone is following him and is subsequently captured, tortured and killed.
So there's that. They kill off the "hot guy" in the first 10 minutes.
But wait! There's more!
The CIA in their far reaching sense, find a doctor in Middle America (Tommy Lee Jones, kicking butt as usual) to transplant Bill Pope's memories into someone else. Who's that someone else you might ask? Oh, a convict named Jericho (Kevin Costner) with no sense of humanity or understanding that when he punches someone in the face, that actually hurts them. This behavior is explained by the fact that Jericho has an underdeveloped frontal lobe from a childhood trauma.
And who better to play this character than Costner, who is swallowing the bad roles he's taken in the last 15 or so years (yes, lump WaterWorld into this generalization as well) and putting the strut back in his step.
Jericho is whisked away from prison, with a fancy new haircut, and brought to warehouse that, apparently, doubles as a surgery suite. The surgery seems to be a success until Jericho claims he is unable to remember anything.
The audience sees blips and flashes of Bill Popes memories as seen by Jericho but he shrugs them off and takes off in London to try and find a bag of cash he keeps seeing through the memories he claims not to have.
Then all hell breaks loose and the people that killed Bill Pope come after his family and Jericho.
I haven't watched a movie with Costner that I've liked, and I mean actually enjoyed watching, since Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. But let's talk about his delivery: Yes, homie plays a thug and relentlessly takes whatever he wants and beats people up. But. His. Timing. Though.
This really is a movie about a guy that grows a conscience. The action scenes are great and the comedic timing is awesome and necessary. The only thing that wasn't fantastic were the CGI graphics here and there. But to be fair, this is a movie that doesn't rely on CGI in a world where films rely on chromakey studios and CGI to fill in the blanks.
Criminal doesn't have any blanks to fill. It's great, overall.