Great Britain

The Courier review – dreary action-thriller fails to deliver

Michael Caine once said that he had never seen the awful Jaws 4 in which he appeared, and added: “But I’ve seen the house it bought for my mum. It’s fantastic!’ What, you wonder, has Oscar-winning actor Gary Oldman bought with his fee for doing this terrible action-thriller, with its range of bad acting, ropey production values and stock footage of cityscape exteriors? Can’t we see that instead? Can’t we have 99 minutes of Gary taking us on a tour of his micro-winery in northern California? Or showing us the sumptuous leather interior of his BMW?

Oldman plays Ezekiel Mannings, a supervillainous evil mastermind in a luxurious Manhattan apartment with an eyepatch and a love of classical music, often listening to an LP with eyes closed and an evil smile playing about his thin lips. Woe betide the cringing henchman or cowering underling who has to interrupt this reverie to stammeringly report that the key prosecution witness in a case against him has not in fact been murdered, as per his express instructions.

What has happened is that a sexy, badass, leather-clad motorbike courier (Olga Kurylenko) – unintriguingly known simply as “the courier” – had been tricked into delivering a package containing a poison-gas bomb into the secure room where this witness had been holed up. But the witness gets away with the courier’s help and now they are both on the run, while details of their continued survival are periodically conveyed to Mr Mannings, and he is terribly cross about it.

Oldman delivers his lines with a strange lethargy and tonelessness, as if – just before speaking – he has just realised that income tax will have to be deducted from his fee.

The Courier is released in the UK on 20 December.

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