(US - 2016)
Directed by Ariel Vroman. Written by Douglas Cook and David Weisberg. Cast: Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman, Tommy Lee Jones, Alice Eve, Gal Gadot, Ryan Reynolds, Michael Pitt, Jordi Molla, Antje Troue, Scott Adkins, Amaury Nolasco, Colin Salmon, Natalie Burn, Lara Decaro. (R, 113 mins)
Your tolerance for the high-concept sci-fi espionage actioner CRIMINAL is dependent upon a number of things: how much you can suspend your disbelief, how much you can stomach graphically brutal and gleefully over-the-top violence, and how perversely fascinating you find serious, award-caliber actors slumming it in a trashy genre offering from Cannon cover band Millennium (I'd recommend running the Cannon intro on your own as the movie starts to get the maximum effect). To Millennium's credit, they brought their A-game to this, opting to actually shoot a London-set story in London instead of their usual unconvincing Bulgarian backlot. Even their go-to CGI clown crew at Worldwide FX seems to have admirably stepped up to the challenge and produced possibly the best splatter and explosions they've ever done. At a cursory glance, CRIMINAL has "straight-to-VOD" written all over it, but with a wild script by the late Douglas Cook (he died in July 2015) and David Weisberg, the same duo who wrote THE ROCK (Michael Bay's one legitimately awesome movie), assured direction by the promising Ariel Vroman (the little-seen 2013 mob movie THE ICEMAN), and an absurdly overqualified cast, CRIMINAL ultimately transcends its dubious first impression and if you're approaching it in the right mood, ends up a hell of a lot more enjoyable than it has any business being.