The Courier is a movie about a guy (Nick) who witnesses a murder by some big crime boss but before he can testify is tracked down by a bunch of hired guns. His only protection – an Russian courier (Olga Kurylenko – who’s actually now a French citizen).
It’s set in an underground carpark in London and an apartment block in the US and it’s meant to be a thrilling cat and mouse movie of action and suspense. Spoiler alert: it isn’t.
Gary Oldman plays Ezekiel Mannings , an unimaginative mean and ruthless crime boss, he’s believable but we’ve seen it before.
The openings scenes of the courier racing around London whilst nicely shot are like a patchwork of some of most famous places in the city, ones that are always shown in movies. Like these are the only places London has to offer. I should have know then what kind of a film this would turn out to be…
Sound of the bike in these opening scenes and later in the car park doesn’t really seem to match the speed you’re seeing. It’s meant to look like she’s going full belt but actually it looks like she’s doing about 30mph.
(As a side note and in typically British fashion I was irritated by the “United Kingdom” under London as if people don’t know where London is. None of the US locations got such treatment. Bar-humbug!)
Nick (Amit Shah) is brought to a secure location from where he’s meant to testify but suddenly (and predictably) Simmons (Alicia Agneson), who’s meant to be heading up the operation turns nasty. Agneson is pretty unconvincing as a tough Interpol agent – she reads her lines but never delivers them. Matter not, she dies soon anyway.
Enter ‘the courier’, a leather clad, merciless one woman hit squad. To some reviewers the fact courier is a she makes the film instantly more ‘kick-ass’ and I’ll admit Kurylenko is probably the best thing about the movie but given that everything else is awful that isn’t saying much. Her character, what she wears and her accent feels like a rip off of Resident Evil movies only not done as well.
Not only is her character not very imaginative (no fault of the actress) Kurylenko has an issue with delivering some of her lines convincingly. You could put it down to the fact she’s not a native English speaker (although hundreds of actors prove that’s not an argument) but her dialogue often feels wooden, although it improves towards the end of the movie.
During the majority of the fight scenes the director flips the camera angle so many times it’s difficult to tell if Kurylenko actually looks good fighting. Overall you do get the impression that she can and there’s nowhere in the film where it just looks silly so at least that’s a plus.
It’s not only the storyline that’s poor though, the script is diabolical and realism is avoided like the plague. Some of the special effects and makeup a quiet impressive though and the filming itself is quite good but it’s clear Zackary Adler (director) wanted to make a Hollywood style action movie, replete with all the inherent ridiculousness.
After saving Nick he asks Kurylenko “Can I come with you?” to which she responds “no go to the police”. Well considered advice I thought considering Interpol have just tried to kill him and the police were useless. Also why save him to then abandon him?
But then, oh no the Agent Bryant (William Moseley) put the car park in lock down and they can’t escape (I mean, not even through a ground floor window!) and so it comes down to 1 hour in a parking lot. Will they survive? Can you guess? I could, in fact I could have written the entire script from seeing the first 10 mins…
Shortly after there’s a great line by Bryant: “she doesn’t have a social security number….” . Yes, welcome to the UK Mr Adler, we don’t have social security numbers here.
Amit Shah plays the part of the weedy English nobody quite well though his attempts at humour are cringe-worthy at best. His character uses the ‘F’ word a lot, especially in the beginning (then he sort of forgets about it later on) but mostly it sounds so fake. The director/writer obviously though if he swears a lot and shouts at the top of his voice it will make him look scared.
There’s the heart to heart moment of course where she explains her history, it’s cut a paste stuff of course but it’s arguably one of the only parts of the movie where Kurylenko’s acting seems sincere.
And then the movie continues, ridiculousness stacked on ridiculousness. At one point Kurylenko hotwires a BMW and suddenly it becomes an impenetrable fortress, withstanding the bullets from to 6 automatic weapons fired at it at close range.
Then there’s a big-bad-baldy who, having been kicked down the stairs, fought and temporarily stunned Kurylenko stands over Nick and decides, despite Nick being the whole object of the mission, tells him to “sit down” whilst he goes off and attempts to finish off Kurylenko. Why? Surely just finish your mission?
The guns seem to have different power depending on who they’re shooting at – she’s shot in the leg by a high calibre sniper rifle at one point (disregard the point of why a sniper would shoot someone in the leg and not the body – a larger target – or the head ) and not only does the bullet not shatter bone and pass straight through it seems to result in only a minor flesh wound. Oh, and what kind of a crap sniper misses a stationary target 4 times?
As the movie progresses all the focus seems to then be on killing ‘the courier’ which makes no sense since she’s the only one who knows where Nick Is hiding and he’s the actual mission.
Time and time again they could just kill Nick but somehow they let me off the hook. Even when the Bryant has a clear shot and Nick’s motionless on the floor for about 1 minutes he’s dawdles – literally the worst contract killer ever.
Eventually the movie draws to a predictable close. Adler tries to add a bit of a twist at the end but really it’s not much of one and I’d long since given up caring.
Signature Entertainment presents The Courier on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital now
20th December 2019
THE QUICK SELL
A courier in London discovers that one of the packages she's transporting is a bomb.