Directed by Ariel Vroman (2016)
by Benjamin Leonard
Best Boy at Moviejawn
“As I sit down to write this, I have no idea where it’s headed.” No, this isn’t a quote from Criminal co-writers Douglas Cook and David Weisberg. It’s what I said to Old Sport, Rosalie Kicks, as I try to make sense out of this mess of a movie.
We got passes to a free screening of Ariel Vroman’s Criminal last night. I’m not the type to expect great things for free, but this movie features a number of people I genuinely like (see my Valentine to Ryan Reynolds) or at least tolerate. Also, I was intrigued by the concept that almost everyone in the cast has been in a comic book superhero movie. So I thought it might be an enjoyable sci-fi/tech-thriller jawn.
The movie opens with Deadpool on the phone with his wife Wonder Woman. Then, Deadpool has to hang up because it turns out he’s a CIA agent in London, skulking around with a bag of money trying to outrun some terrorists. (The terrorists are headed by Castillo from Ant-Man.) Deadpool calls Commissioner Gordon, who is playing the head of the CIA team. Both the CIA and the terrorists seem to have WAY more control over the goings-on of the city of London than they should. Castillo outsmarts Gordon and they trap Deadpool in a warehouse and end up killing him.
Flash to the US. Two-Face is a doctor that has been working to transfer memories from dead rats into living ones. Commissioner Gordon needs to get the intel that ony Deadpool knew. So, he takes Two-Face to go visit Superman’s dad in prison. This is going to be the schlub that they stick Deadpool’s memories in. The scene with Jonathan Kent in prison is probably the one truly enjoyable moment in this movie. He plays a mental defective psychopath that swings around on a chain and taunts the guards. I actually chuckled a couple times.
Gordon and Two-Face pack up Kent and move the whole shit-show back to London to stick Deadpool’s memories into Kent’s head. Gordon’s sole motivation throughout the movie is to do the opposite of what anyone tells him. As Kent is in recovery, Two-Face urges Gordon to take it easy on Kent, but no, Gordon MUST HAVE THE ANSWERS! Kent plays dumb because he still retains the psychopath part of his brain. Deadpool’s personality has only been imprinted on the parts of Kent’s brain that were stunted in childhood.
Gordon sends his agents off to kill Kent, but he escapes and embarks on a bizarre joy-ride through London where he “rocks out” to some pretty terrible music while driving around in a van and stops at a fish and chips shop for an encounter that is a cross between Bronson and Carl at the french-fried tater stand in Sling Blade. Kent distractingly continues his Carl impersonation throughout the film.
Kent starts getting more flashes from Deadpool’s life and decides to drop in for a visit at Wonder Woman’s house. This scene is genuinely creepy as he breaks in, tapes up Wonder Woman and leers at her sleeping child. However, this triggers more memories and Kent starts to cozy up to Deadpool’s family as he hunts down Jimmy Darmody (How’d he get into this superhero movie?!?)
Jimmy gets the whole tech part of this thing going as he controls a program that Castillo’s terrorists and Gordon’s CIA are both trying to get their hands on. But honestly, from this point on the movie is just jumping from scene to loosely connected scene trying to get us to the end where Castillo “gets his” and (inexplicably) Kent and Wonder Woman fall for each other. (YUCK!) All of the characters just naturally accept that this “science” of transferring memories works and no one ever really questions anyone else’s motives. It’s like one of the weaker Blacklist episodes without the joy of seeing Ultron ham it up.
Overall, as a free movie, this is passable. If I stumbled downstairs on a hung over Saturday morning and this was on TV, I’d probably let it play. I was sad that it wasn't a true brain swap movie. They didn't even crisscross, swap brains! But let’s face it, this movie just simply didn’t have enough Deadpool to keep it going. Heck, Deadpool and Jimmy aren’t even on the poster! They probably made backdoor deals to get themselves as far away from this thing as possible.