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Criminal Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD Review

Criminal (2016) movie poster Criminal

Theatrical Release: April 15, 2016 / Running Time: 114 Minutes / Rating: R

Director: Ariel Vromen / Writers: Douglas Cook, David Weisberg

Cast: Kevin Costner (Jericho Stewart), Gary Oldman (Quaker Wells), Tommy Lee Jones (Dr. Mahal Franks), Ryan Reynolds (Bill Pope), Jordi Molla (Xavier Heimdahl), Gal Gadot (Jill Pope), Michael Pitt (Jan Strook - The Dutchman), Amaury Nolasco (Esteban Ruiza), Alice Eve (Marta Lynch), Antje Traue (Elsa Mueller), Scott Adkins (Pete Greensleeves), Lara DeCaro (Emma Pope), Freddy Bosche (CIA Agent Pfeffer), Colin Salmon (Warden), Danny Webb (Lewis Deane), Piers Morgan (Himself)

Buy Criminal from Amazon.com: Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD DVD 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital HD Instant Video

In Face/Off, John Woo's fondly remembered 1997 action film,
a psychopath undergoes an experimental face transplant with the FBI agent pursuing him. That actually sounds kind of plausible when compared to Criminal, an unimaginatively titled movie that sees part of a dead CIA agent's brain put inside a convict in the interests of national security.

Bill Pope (Ryan Reynolds), the CIA agent working in the field in London, is swiftly tortured to death without revealing any secrets. To unlock what he knew, the agency turns to Dr. Mahal Franks (Tommy Lee Jones), who has to rush to perform an experimental procedure that puts bits of Pope's brain inside ornery convict Jericho Stewart (Kevin Costner). The brain graft works, infusing Jericho with some of the late Pope's memories. But it's kind of a puzzle to put together and one that is complicated by Jericho's nature.

"Criminal" stars Kevin Costner as a criminal who's fitted with the memories of a slain CIA agent.

Hostile and impulsive, Jericho 2.0 breaks loose from police custody and starts looking for money that Pope hid. He also visits the agent's widow (Wonder Woman's Gal Gadot) and young daughter. There's something about the world's nuclear defense codes as well. But mostly the Bill-ish Jericho tries to find a shelf of George Orwell books holding the loot.

Costner seems to be modeling his performance on Denzel Washington, a contemporary who has managed to say relevant into his sixties. It is a characterization from the ordinarily bland Costner that we haven't seen before, but it is not something that compels, not when it comes in this ludicrous wrapping of an outlandish premise. If you can suspend disbelief on how the human body works, Criminal is a passable procedural, but that is a tall task needed to reach modest heights.

CIA Agent Quaker Wells (Gary Oldman) demands results on this experimental brain operation.

Criminal is the biggest film yet from Israeli director Ariel Vromen (The Iceman). The screenplay is the first in nearly twenty years for the duo of Douglas Cook and David Weisberg (The Rock, Double Jeopardy) and their last together, since Cook passed away in 2015.

Opening in sixth place and grossing just $14.7 M domestic/worldwide on a reported budget of $31.5 M, Criminal will do absolutely nothing to restore faith in the commercial viability of Kevin Costner as leading man. Costner has many misses and virtually no hits to his name since 2006 if we're being generous and 1992 if we're being stricter with our definition of "hit." He has at least come around and begun accepting supporting roles, which is pretty inevitable for most actors of his age.

Summit hopes to recover some of their losses with this week's Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD combo pack release of the film.

Criminal Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD cover art - click to buy from Amazon.com Blu-ray & DVD Details

2.40:1 Widescreen (DVD Anamorphic)
Blu-ray: 5.1 DTS-HD MA (English), Dolby Digital 5.1 (Spanish), Dolby Surround 2.0 (Descriptive Service)
DVD: Dolby Digital 5.1 (English, Spanish), Dolby Surround 2.0 (Descriptive Video Service)
Subtitles: English for Hearing Impaired, Spanish
Extras Not Subtitled; Not Closed Captioned
Release Date: July 26, 2016
Suggested Retail Price: $39.99
Two single-sided, dual-layered discs (DVD-9 & BD-50)
Blue Eco-Friendly Keepcase in Holographic Cardboard Slipcover
Also available on standalone DVD ($29.95 SRP), 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital HD ($42.99 SRP), and Amazon Instant Video


Criminal unsurprisingly looks sharp on Blu-ray. The 2.40:1 transfer is crisp, clean, and only moderately stylized. The 5.1 DTS-HD master audio soundtrack contains the expected vitality as well.

Ariel Vromen directs Gary Oldman in "Criminal Intent." Dr. Franks (Tommy Lee Jones) is surprised to find his aging mother has a guest in this deleted scene.


Identical on each disc but presented in HD on Blu-ray, the extras begin with "Criminal Intent",

a 40-minute making-of documentary divided into two parts. It covers the usual bases with many cast and crew interviews plus plenty of behind-the-scenes footage. Interestingly, the piece ends with Costner and others throwing shade at modern studio conventions.

"Director's Notes" (40:04) is actually a rare partial film audio commentary by director Ariel Vromen. He speaks over a little less than half of the movie, with scenes being introduced by onscreen titles. More commentaries should take this approach since so rarely do speakers sustain interest over their films' entireties. He's not super interesting here discussing a film that isn't either, but at least you only need to carve out 40 minutes for this.

Four deleted scenes run 4 minutes and 20 seconds. They include Ryan Reynolds channeling his inner Bourne in a hallway fight and Dr. Franks being surprised by an unexpected guest on a visit to his elderly mother

Finally, there is a music video for Madsonik featuring Lola Marsh's "Drift and Fall Again" (3:54) which uses some of the inherited memory footage among other clips along with gray original beach imagery to sustain a dreamy mood befitting this original end credits song.

"Also from Lionsgate" repeats the disc-opening trailers for Sicario, Gods of Egypt, The Trust, I Am Wrath, and Heist.

The menu features layers of clips and still imagery while a pulsing excerpt of score loops.

The standard eco-friendly keepcase is topped by a slipcover that is extensively holographic. An insert supplying Digital HD information joins the two full-color discs inside.

At a pharmacy, Jericho Stewart (Kevin Costner) confronts the doctor who literally messed with his brain (Tommy Lee Jones).


Criminal unfortunately joins the majority of films this year that have underwhelmed. There does seem to be some squandered potential here, and maybe if you can get past that ludicrous premise, you can find this an enjoyable little action thriller. The Blu-ray combo pack sports a high quality feature presentation plus substantial extras. It may warrant a rental for Costner fans and the interested.

Buy Criminal from Amazon.com:
Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD / DVD / 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital HD / Instant Video

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Reviewed July 28, 2016.

Text copyright 2016 DVDizzy.com. Images copyright 2016 Summit Entertainment, Millennium Films, Benderspink, Campbell Grobman Films, and Lionsgate.
Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.