The Courier (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
October 3, 2012 by Dennis Amith
“The Courier” is a violent action film that had the talent and a producer/actor willing to take chances especially in making the action sequences look effective but writing could and should have been tweaked to utilize characters a bit better. While the Blu-ray does look good, lossless audio was a bit weak and overall an ambitious film that comes up short.
TITLE: The Courier
FILM RELEASE: 2012
DURATION: 97 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (16:9 widescreen), English 5.1 HD Surround Sound
COMPANY: Well Go USA Entertainment
RATED: R (For Violence Including some torture and language)
Release Date: October 2, 2012
Directed by Hany Abu-Assad
Written by Brannon Coombs, Pete Dris
Producer: Mike Gabrawy, Gary Hamilton, Conroy Chan Chi-Chung, Dale Poniewaz, Jethro Rothe-Kushel, Tucker Tooley
Executive Producer: Michael Arata, Will French, Jason Hewitt, Avram “Butch” Kaplan, Jeff Kranzdorf, Carsten H.W. Lorenz, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Andrew Ooi, Stephen Roberts, Victor Syrmis
Co-Executive Producer: Stuart Sutherland, Steve Wilkinson
Co-Producer: Joel Morrish
Music by Nima Fakhrara
Cinematography by Antonio Calvache
Edited by William Steinkamp
Casting by Lisa Marie Dupree
Production Design by Tom Lisowski
Art Direction by Helen Harwell
Set Decoration by Cynthia Anne Slagter
Costume Design by Sandra Algood, Caroline Eselin
Jeffrey Dean Morgan as The Courier
Mickey Rourke as Maxwell
Til Schweiger as FBI Agent
Mark Margolis as Stitch
Miguel Ferrer as Mr. Capo
Lili Taylor as Mrs. Capo
Tom Proctor as Torture Man
Andrea Frankle as Deidre
David Jensen as San Fran Tana
Josie Ho as Anna
In a business that asks no questions, THE COURIER (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), is the best out there, but he wasn’t expecting a deal like this. Deliver a briefcase, get a million dollars. Fail, and his family gets killed. What’s the catch? The briefcase belongs to a killer as elusive as a nightmare, and so feared that the entire Underworld trembles at the mention of his name. And with a new partner (Josie Ho), it’s hard to know who to trust. Hounded by hit men and hustlers, double-dealing feds and double-crossing accomplices, the Courier embarks on an impossible journey that ultimately unravels his own murky past.
From the director of “Paradise Now” and “Rana’s Wedding” comes Hany Abu-Assad’s latest film “The Courier”.
Featuring a screenplay by Brannon Coombs and Pete Dris, the film stars Jeffrey Dean Morgan (“Watchmen”, “The Losers”, “The Possession”), Mickey Rourke (“The Wrestler”, “Iron Man 2”), Til Schweiger (“Inglorious Basterds, “This Means War”), Mark Margolis (“The Wrestler”, “Pi”, “Black Swan”), Miguel Ferrer (“RoboCop”, “Traffic”), Lili Taylor (“Ransom”, “Say Anythiing”, “High Fidelity”) and Josie Ho (“Contagion”, “Isabella”, “Exiled”).
The direct-to-video-film will be released in October 2012 courtesy of Well Go USA Entertainment.
“The Courier” is a film that revolves around a man (portrayed by Jeffrey Dean Morgan) who is paid to deliver packages. He knows where to find the people and no questions are asked. He just gets paid and does the job.
And the Courier’s life is rather simple. He lives in a flat with a mouse that he looks at as a pet and hangs out with his friend Stich (portrayed by Mark Margolis) who owns a boxing gym. One day while hanging out with Stitch, gunmen come and request for his services. He must deliver a package to someone named “Evil Sylvie” within two days. He must find the person and he refuses, it will lead to the death of people he does know.
The courier is able to hack into the FBI database and with the help of a girl named Anna (portrayed by Josie Ho), a woman that Stitch had raised when she was younger and has experience with breaking into cars, the two go to look for “Evil Sylvie”.
But each time he tries to get close to one that may know who Evil Sylvie is, they are killed. And after him are two sadistic killers Mr. Capo (portrayed by Miguel Ferrer) and Mrs. Capo (portrayed by Lili Taylor). And the Courier also finds out that the person who set him up for the job is an FBI Agent (portrayed by Til Schweiger).
With time running out, will the courier be able to find Evil Silvie just in time? Or will the people he cares about, be killed.
“The Courier” is presented in 1080p High Definition (16:9 widescreen) and was fortunately shot in 4K via a Red One Camera. The outdoor scenes look fantastic with good amount of detail for the character closeups. While low-light scenes looked very good. I didn’t notice any artifacts or excessive DNR. Picture quality looked great on Blu-ray!
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“The Courier” is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. For a film that features quite a bit of action, I was expecting to hear immersive sound and a good amount of ambiance but the soundtrack felt primarily front-channel driven and not much use of the surround channels
“The Courier” comes with the following special features:
- Behind the Scenes – (22:33) Interviews with the cast and director Hady Abu-Assad about the various talents featured in the film, the cast talk about working with the director. Jeffrey Dean Morgan talks about his dual role as the lead actor and as producer for the film.
- Extended/Deleted Scenes – (17:54) Extended and deleted scenes from “The Courier”.
- Trailer – (1:54) The theatrical trailer for “The Courier”.
“The Courier” comes with a slipcover case.
“The Courier” is a dark, violent, action film that showcases a director and lead actor with great intentions, but with a plot that seems to disconnected and an ending that leaves a bitter taste in our mouth.
First, let’s kick of what I felt that worked with “The Courier”. I felt the collaboration with director Hany Abu-Assad and actor/executive producer Jeffrey Dean Morgan worked well. As the action star of the film, he was effective. The action scenes, especially the torture scenes really drew you in. And while the film had its fair share of recognizable talent such as Mickey Rourke, Miguel Ferrer, Lili Taylor, Til Schweiger and for Hong Kong film fans, Josie Ho, the writing doesn’t compliment the talent well enough.
Josie Ho’s character Anna made an interesting pairing with the Courier, but it doesn’t last all that long. The writers brings her in, gets her involved, then kicks her out. Bad mistake.
Then you have Mickey Rourke as the Elvis Presley imitator Maxwell. Here is an actor that was utilized perfectly for “The Wrestler”, as a villain for “Iron Man 2” but in “The Courier”, he was no used effectively at all. His entire scene in the film seemed like a buildup for something, and that something just fell flat on its face.
Even Til Schweiger’s actions as an FBI Agent seemed suspicious, while the only two that made sense and were awesome in the film were the married couple, the Capos played by Miguel Ferrer and Lili Taylor who have t perform one grisly torture scene that was awesome.
I understand the film was shot with a low budget, the film had time considerations for its talent and shooting on-location, but I felt the film could have been tweaked in terms of storyline a bit more. Something that adds to the character development and one that possibly leads to a better ending. Unless the film was to end as it was and making you feel there may be a sequel. Who knows?
But “The Courier” felt it had so much potential that could have been explored, but somehow there was more focus on the action and on the Courier that other characters were not utilized that well in the film at all.
As for the Blu-ray release, while the film looks great in HD, I was expecting a bit more immersiveness and use of the surround channels during the action sequences of this film. As for special features, you get a making of, extended/deleted scenes and trailer.
Overall, “The Courier” is a violent action film that had the talent and a producer/actor willing to take chances especially in making the action sequences look effective but writing could and should have been tweaked to utilize characters a bit better. While the Blu-ray does look good, lossless audio was a bit weak and overall an ambitious film that comes up short.
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