'Criminal' - Movie Review

This is set in the current day, but it falls under the heading of "science fiction" because the main premise of the film is a bit of science that doesn't actually exist yet. Bill Pope (Ryan Reynolds) of the CIA is trying to extract hacker Jan Strook (Michael Pitt) who wants to get away from his insane boss Heimdahl (Jordi MollĂ ). This is because Heimdahl would happily cause a nuclear holocaust with the control Strook has gained over missile access codes. But Heimdahl has Pope killed, leaving Strook stranded and the CIA not knowing what's going on. So they use an experimental technology from Dr. Micah Franks (Tommy Lee Jones) to transfer the memories of their dead agent into the head of incarcerated sociopath Jerico Stewart (Kevin Costner). When Jerico isn't immediately responsive with the memories he wants, CIA boss Quaker Wells (Gary Oldman) indicates that Jerico should be disposed of. But they don't do it on the spot because that wouldn't give him time to escape. And he does escape, and the memories start to take their effect.

The basic idea is sound, even quite interesting: what happens when you place the memories of a basically decent man in the head of an emotionless criminal? Jan Strook's hacking into the American missile defence system, is improbable, but ... let's let that go, it's a semi-credible threat. And I wouldn't have started watching the DVD if I wasn't willing to accept the memory re-implantation idea. But Strook's former boss Heimdahl - when he's not torturing people, he sits quietly typing - from where he apparently controls the GPS system, the entire world's cellular phone network, and every security camera anywhere (with sound and pan/zoom control). Damn he's good. In fact, he's so spectacularly good that he doesn't need Strook at all, because he's an immensely better hacker ... and he's totally unbelievable. It's unfortunate as Costner turned in a pretty good performance that might have made the movie watchable if it weren't so ludicrous. And in other regards, it's just kind of ... generic. The end result is a bit of a mess and, while not totally horrible, hard to recommend to anyone.