Skip to main content

"Criminal" Is a Fast-Paced Action Film Worth Watching

Robert J. Sodaro is an American born writer, editor, and digital graphic artist, who loves writing about comics, movies, and literature.


The Spys have it.

The Spys have it.


Criminal:“ (106 min.)

Starring: Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman, Tommy Lee Jones, Gal Gadot, Ryan Reynolds

Directed by: Ariel Vromen

A Spy Story

Bill Pope (Reynolds) is a CIA agent who is on a mission in Germany where he is tracking down a shadowy hacker nicknamed “The Dutchman.” Unfortunately, he gets made while on his assignment, and gets ambushed by a group of agents who are also looking for the Dutchman. The Good News/Bad news is that he doesn’t reveal where he has stashed the Dutchman, but he is killed by the enemy agents. What we come to find out is that the Dutchman has created a wormhole program that allows the user to bypass the computer codes protecting the world’s nuclear defense codes, making that person very dangerous indeed. Well, when the Dutchman is trying to cut a deal with the CIA for his safety and financial future.

Scroll to Continue

Read More From Reelrundown

Criminal (2016 Movie) Official Trailer

The Backstory

Well, Reynolds’ backup arrives (too late to save him, but apparently just in time for Reynolds’ boss, Quaker Wells, (Oldman) to think that an experimental medical procedure designed to transfer his memories into the brain of another subject is a wicked-good idea). So he calls upon the scientist, Dr. Mahal Franks (Jones) to perform this still highly experimental procedure on Pope and to do the transfer. Only instead of a Navy SEAL, Fran convinces Wells to transfer the memories to a dangerous criminal named Jericho Stewart (Costner). Stewart, as it turns out is something of an ideal candidate for the procedure as Stewart's criminal behavior is the result of childhood brain trauma leaving him with an underdeveloped frontal lobe, which in turn has hindered his emotional development and impulse control. Naturally, it’s lack of impulse that has made Stuart a criminal.

Criminal on the Brain

Kevin Costner Has Ryan Reynolds on His Mind, Literally.

Kevin Costner Has Ryan Reynolds on His Mind, Literally.

The Mission

So with a narrow window of opportunity to perform the operation to graft Pope’s knowledge into Stewart's mind. When Stewart awakens he has the CIA agent’s memories, jumbled up with his own, only he can’t quite process what is going on, which, naturally enough, irks the living daylights out of Wells, who wants to send Stewart back to the slam. As it turns out Stewart begins to sort out the jumble inside his head and he begins to focus on Pope’s mission; which is to find The Dutchman and eliminate the threat before the hacker sells the code to the other side and they start launching ICBMs starting World War III. As can be expected, complications set in and now the clock is running as to what will happen first, the code falling into the wrong hands, or something even more dangerous.

The Past is Prologue

While the premise may seem a bit over-the-top sci-fi for what is ostensibly a spy/crime drama but it really does work and it is propelled forward by a top-flight cast and a well-written script. Interestingly enough not eight months ago, Reynolds was in the similarly-themed film Self/less where he was brain-swapped with millionaire Damian Hale (Ben Kingsley), making this swap being something of turnabout being fair play.

Spy vs. Spy

Ryan Reynolds and Gal Gadot star in "Criminal."

Ryan Reynolds and Gal Gadot star in "Criminal."

© 2016 Robert J Sodaro

Related Articles