The cast look good, and the idea is interesting BUT the execution and story is pretty lazy, which results in a wasted opportunity to make this Kevin Costner’s ‘Taken’. It’s predictable, violent and ends up being something you’ve already seen before, but not pulled of as good.
I like Costner, I always have, and have most of his films, but sadly his recent offerings haven’t done him any favours. With the right material, he can deliver. He was fine as Jonathan Kent in the new ‘Man Of Steel’, but look at him in ‘3 Days To Kill’ and now ‘Criminal’, he’s being cast as broken men who have demons to battle as well as the baddies.
Playing a man who is fighting with his own violent nature against a more caring and emotional one, it’s like a strange blend of ‘Face/Off’ meets ‘Total Recall’, but not as good. The film is very slow once the story starts and, to be honest, Costner is portrayed as a man too damn violent and cruel to really care for at all. I found myself not liking him, even when I probably SHOULD have been trying to like him. The violence he commits is, and I’m shocked to say this, un-necessary for his character and the plot.
Gary Oldman is just playing Commissioner Gordon on a bad day. Tommy Lee Jones is always on point, but here he just looks troubled and miserable. Gal Gadot shows she can act better against CGI monsters in suits of armor, because here she’s just the crying, love-lorn but resilient widow/mother who ends up being the obvious damsel in distress. It’s a shame, because this is a good cast, but the material is too routine, too normal and too lazy for them to actually test their own ability and give us something memorable. Even watching Ryan Reynolds get the poodoo beaten out of him is very run-of-the-mill, but still enjoyable for those of us who hate him and ‘Deadpool’.
And the story? I don't know why it was relevant to be the basis of film. We have a villain who I don't know what he was trying to do, and a sub-villain who doesn't know if he wants to be a villain or not. Also, the fact everything said villain does is done via a laptop is boring - he can control weapons, hack into CIA databases, watch London CCTV...I mean, this is just cheap, using technology as a plot device to enable someone to do anything. And the fact the laptop is never plugged in? Must have good battery and network connection to do all this government hacking and missile launching.
In the final stages of the long, drawn out cat-and-mouse game across London (getting very boring as a city to film in with the same old places used in films over and over again – ‘London Has Fallen’ did it all before), the film does pick up into tacky but fun actioner and lets Costner enjoy himself a bit, but it’s soon brought back down quickly and full of, on the whole, lots of people shouting and being confused at who is working for who and why.
So, yeah. On the whole it’s another disappointing outing for Kevin Costner who deserves better. He deserves a solid action film without him having a cold, or being a psychotic with a head-ache or anything like that. Just let him be Kevin Costner going after bad guys, because he does that very well. Everything else around him and the cast in this just brings the enjoyment down and adds to the already bloated feel of the 110min run-time.