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Some ideas are just so perfectly, delightfully stupid that you just have to see them. Hollywood is made up of not only bad ideas, but great bad ideas that people will eventually be seduced into seeing. Criminal, the latest joy-bringer from Millennium Films, is a perfect example of the sort of film you just might enjoy in spite of a central idea that sounds like the invention of twelve year olds. And now, it's got a couple of great actors attached.
The Hollywood Reporter announced that Gary Oldman, fresh off Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes has joined the cast of Criminal, starring Kevin Costner as an... oooh boy. This thing is silly. Costner plays a prison inmate who somehow absorbs the memories, secrets and skills of a dead CIA operative. Instead of ignoring this as a dopey contrivance, a weirdly supernatural goof of sorts, the CIA then recruits him. As it turns out, within these memories lies the key to stopping a villain's devious plot. Also, probably martial arts, because that's how these things go.
Gary Oldman would be playing the CIA chief in charge of this ludicrous investigation, and the hope is that the entirety of Criminal is spent with fellow CIA agents sniggering at this dumb plan and laughing behind his back. Of course, chances are this is one of those "9/11 times a thousand!" plots like the one from Team America: World Police, so maybe there's no laughing. Amusingly, Kevin Costner seems like the least-likely former prison inmate in movie history. Has anyone touched a single golden lock of his hair in his years on this planet? Probably not.
Of course, the hope is that this movie (which, somehow, does not involve Luc Besson) has fun with the premise. Maybe Oldman's CIA chief isn't the exposition-deliverer of films like The Dark Knight and Book Of Eli but rather an idiosyncratic oddball like Zorg of The Fifth Element. And Costner already has collected two bombs this year with 3 Days To Kill and Draft Day (three if you count Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit). Maybe he sees this as a chance to reinvent himself? Maybe he's currently hitting the weight room and getting into street fights for this movie? Maybe he shows up on the Criminal set all buffed up as hell and ready to start some shit. Maybe this is the Kevin Costner he's been hiding from all of us, the racist, sexist, obnoxious hateful jerk that's been hiding inside the baseball-loving All-American stud all along. Probably not, though.
Ariel Vroman, who previously worked at Millennium directing the sinister serial killer saga The Iceman, will helm Criminal. That movie was a pitch-black look at a man with no morality, and featured a standout deranged Michael Shannon lead performance. The hope is he's developed a funny bone, because you need some sort of wit to pull off a movie like this. Though it's not too late, Millennium – if you can roost John Carpenter from his NBA-and-pot-induced nap, and get the eyepatch back on Kurt Russell, this would be a gnarly Escape From New York sequel.