Jerico Stewart (Kevin Costner) is a danger to society. He’s locked up in a maximum-security prison as a chained wild beast. An unruly person without feelings. A psychopathic person who doesn’t even know the difference between right and wrong (“You can’t punish someone who doesn’t know he did something wrong“). And this thanks to his mother’s friend, who found out that he wasn’t the father, and as a response flung him out of the window of the car. The result was a frontal lobe syndrome, making him the suitable candidate to inherit the memory of CIA agent Bill Pope (Ryan Reynolds), who was electrocuted to death during a mission. And this because the memory of Pope is full of information necessary to locate the Dutch hacker Jan Strook (Michael Pitt), also known as the The Dutchman, before he sells his sophisticated software to a crazy anarchist or the Russians. Software that could lead to a global nuclear war and total chaos.
Well, it doesn’t sound very plausible. And the film is packed with completely absurd idiocies such as setting up a GPS remotely and manipulating surveillance images in such a way that the secret service is chasing the wrong person. I always skipped this film because of the presence of Kevin Costner. In hindsight, I still ask myself how in God’s name they got the idea to ask him. I associate Costner with other films where he’s dancing with wolves, protecting a pop singer as a bodyguard and floating on a vast ocean as a kind of Mad Max. Jerico Stewart is a character Costner never played before, I think. But I must admit that he did it amazingly well. The aggression Jericho emanates and his violent behavior was played convincingly by Costner. His performance during the appropriation of a van (the owners are beaten up thoroughly), the confrontation with the widow (Gal Gadot) or the harassing language he uses against a pharmacist are some examples. The clash between Jericho’s cheeky personality and Pope’s more sophisticated behavior created some humorous scenes.
For a moment it reminded me of The Bourne identity. Both movies are about someone going through a personality crisis, not knowing who he is, what goal he has and what it’s all about. Jerico is a loose object who runs around like a bull in a china shop, making downtown London unsafe. The only thing he’s concentrating on, is the lost bag full of money. The story itself isn’t really ingenious and will cause some head shaking when watching it. What remains is a pure spy action movie with quite some violence in it.
Besides Costner there are some other heavyweights from Hollywood summoned for this film. There’s also Tommy Lee Jones who takes care of the character Dr. Frank. All in all, this part isn’t really meaningful and apparently he participated reluctantly, judging by the expression on his face (or is this a standard expression?). Fact is that the number of wrinkles on his face is growing steadily. Then you have Gary Oldman as chief Quaker Wells. A similar character as Oldman played in the recent Batman franchise, except that Quaker is more stupid and insensible. The most disappointing role was the one from Michael Pitt. He didn’t sound like a Dutch hacker. This isn’t a performance that’ll stay in my memory forever as the one he did in I Origins and Rob the Mob. And finally Ryan (Deadpool) Reynolds who got the shortest role he ever had in his entire career.
Even though the film lacks credibility, the subject is a bit over the top and they couldn’t make up their mind if it was going to be a SF or a pure action film, this film still managed to surprise me pleasantly. I wasn’t bored for a minute. But then again, probably I won’t remember much of it anymore in a month or so. Or somebody could regenerate the memory in a similar manner. But that’s highly unlikely, I guess.
For more of Peter Pluymers’ movie reviews, check out My Opinion as a Movie-Freak
Other reviews you might enjoy:
- Acts of Vengeance – home entertainment review
- Live by Night – HE review
- Brawl in Cell Block 99 – home entertainment review
David Edwards is the editor of The Blurb and a contributor on film and television