Kevin Costner Uglies Up for “Criminal”
By Skip Sheffield
What is up with Kevin Costner? Is he trying to disavow his handsome movie star image?
One might think so from “Criminal,” Costner’s latest movie. Costner starts out as long-haired and bearded. Then his hair is shorn into an ugly buzz cut so his brain can be operated upon to implant the memories and experiences of another man.
The memories are from a CIA operative named Bill Pope (Ryan Reynolds). Pope is killed before he can complete his mission of defeating a young hacker known as “The Dutchman” (Michael Pitt).
Jericho Stewart (Kevin Costner) is a death row inmate presumably assumed expendable. In this far-fetched fantasy by the late Douglas Cook, who died in 2015, and David Weisberg, who collaborated with Cook on “Double Jeopardy,” Stewart is operated upon by Dr. Franks (Tommy Lee Jones, looking more furrowed and wrinkled than ever) and implanted with the memories of Bill Pope in hopes Jericho can catch the dastardly Dutchman, It gets more confusing from there. Bill Pope had a beautiful wife named Jill (stunning Israeli actress Gal Gadot, who is Wonder Woman in the current “Batman vs Superman” movie). The director is another Israeli, Aviel Vroman, who previously collaborated with the screenwriters and Tommy Lee Jones on “Double Jeopardy.”
I couldn’t quite figure out who the character of Quaker Wells (Gary Oldman) was supposed to be. I’m guessing a CIA muckety-muck, but much of the plot is murky. What is not murky is the special effects and “blow up real good” stunts. The setting is mostly in London, England, which is at least scenic.
Kevin Costner has had winners (“Bull Durham,” “Field of Dreams” and “Dances With Wolves), and he has had losers (“Waterworld,” “The Postman). I think “Criminal” ranks in the second category.