Streaming Video Movie Review: THE COURIER (2012)
By Michael Arruda
I decided to check out the action thriller THE COURIER (2012), now available on streaming video, because it starred Jeffrey Dean Morgan, an actor whose performances I’ve enjoyed of late in such films as WATCHMEN (2009) and THE POSSESSION (2012).
Well, the first thing I’ll tell you right now is I enjoyed Morgan much better in WATCHMEN and THE POSSESSION than in THE COURIER. Sadly, his performance in this one is uninspiring. And that’s just the beginning of what’s wrong with this clinker.
The movie starts off well. In fact, its best scene and most memorable image might be its opening one. It opens at an abandoned (or, at the very least, closed) amusement park, with two thugs holding a woman hostage at the top of a roller coaster track. The Courier (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) races through the park to reach her, climbing all the way to the top of the tracks to hand deliver the package of money to the thugs for her release. He makes it in time, but not before the kidnappers push her off the top track, but the Courier leaps to her rescue (I guess he doesn’t get paid unless the victim is returned safely) and somehow, miraculously, manages to grab onto the line tied to her and pull her to safety.
No, this Courier doesn’t work for UPS. He’s self-employed, a man hired to find people and to deliver ransom packages. Nice job. You wouldn’t think he’d be all that busy, though. How many ransom packages need to be delivered on a regular basis?
But, because he’s the best there is (of course), the Courier is sought out by a man (Til Schweiger), who forces him to find a mysterious person named Evil Sivle. If not, this man and the people he works for will kill the daughter and grandchild of the Courier’s best friend, Stitch (Mark Margolis).
The Courier searches New Orleans for Evil Sivle with the help of a young woman Anna (Josie Ho), a friend of Stitch’s, who it seems Stitch would like to set up romantically with the Courier. Nice matchmaker. Why don’t the two of you go to New Orleans on the trail of a bloodthirsty killer and go out for a couple of drinks afterwards, it might be the start of a beautiful relationship.
It seems, however, according to the information that the Courier uncovers, that Evil Sivle is dead, but that doesn’t stop a guy named Maxwell (Mickey Rourke) from trying to kill the Courier. Why? It’s all part of the mystery, I guess.
The Courier is eventually captured and tortured by a pair of married assassins, Mr. Capo (Miguel Ferrer) and Mrs. Capo (Lili Taylor). But being the best there is, the Courier escapes from their clutches to continue his quest to find Evil Sivle.
To confuse matters even more, it turns out that the man who forced the Courier to take this job is really an FBI agent. It seems the FBI are the ones who want Evil Sivle found. Why? I wish I could tell you.
In the end, the Courier proves he’s the best by finding the reclusive Evil Sivle, whose identity is revealed in one of the more ridiculous plot twists I’ve seen in a long time.
Hands down, the biggest problem I have with THE COURIER is its story stinks. It plays like a movie that started with a clever concept—a courier who gets involved with a seedy underworld full of undesirables—but couldn’t come up with a decent storyline that made any sense. And that’s the bottom line with this one, folks. It doesn’t make sense.
The Courier is forced to take this job, and it’s questionable why he would accept the job when the threat— we’ll abduct your best friend’s daughter and her child—hasn’t even happened yet. I just didn’t buy the plot point that a guy like the Courier would simply roll over and do what these guys wanted. He would have fought back. He accepts their terms way too easily.
Then there’s Evil Sivle. Nice name, but just who the hell is he? Why is he so sought after? The film never really makes its case that this guy is a legendary villain, someone the FBI would kill for just to find.
Other characters aren’t fleshed out either. The FBI agent who coerces the Courier in the first place disappears half way through the film. And Maxwell, played by Mickey Rourke in a wasted role, shows up so fleetingly that his presence in the movie is nothing more than an afterthought.
And the final plot twist is embarrassingly bad. Screenwriters Pete Dris and Brannon Coombs should have gone back to the shop with this one for a long time before calling it a final product.
Jeffrey Dean Morgan, so memorable as the Comedian in WATCHMEN doesn’t impress here as the Courier. Perhaps for his next role he’ll consider a character whose name doesn’t begin with “the.” His performance as the Courier simply lacks the necessary intensity needed for the character. I didn’t really buy him in this role. He seemed too clunky to be the efficient swift-footed Courier.
Mickey Rourke is on screen so briefly as Maxwell I almost forgot he was in the movie. I did enjoy Miguel Ferrer and Lili Taylor as Mr. and Mrs. Capo, the torture couple, but they’re not in the movie much either. The other actor who stood out was Mark Margolis as Stitch. Margolis has been in a lot of movies and TV shows and always adds a sense of realism to the proceedings. His Stitch was a convincing guy in a movie full of unconvincing characters and plot points.
THE COURIER does have some interesting ideas and some curious characters, but they’re never developed to any degree of satisfaction.
Director Hany Abu-Assad seems to have handled this one with an eye on something else. It’s as if he were driving while texting or something. The action scenes, fight scenes, shoot- out scenes, all seemed rushed. None of it comes off as convincing because there isn’t much attention given to detail here. In fact, there’s something rushed about this whole production, including the script. Perhaps they were trying to make a same-day delivery.
Anyway, THE COURIER is a disappointing thriller that is too muddled to be effective. It’s about as intense as a trip to the post office.
It gets one knife.
© Copyright 2013 by Michael Arruda
Michael Arruda gives THE COURIER ~ one knife!