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Review: Magnetic Olga Kurylenko restrained by scale of ‘The Courier’

Amit Shah and Olga Kurylenko in the movie ‘The Courier’
Amit Shah and Olga Kurylenko in the movie “The Courier.”
(Gareth Gatrell / Lionsgate)

As the heroine of the chase thriller “The Courier,” Olga Kurylenko brings a lot of personal magnetism and awesome athleticism — and she needs to, because her director, Zackary Adler, has stuck her in an action movie that rarely moves. Though it’s set mostly in London, large chunks of the film take place in a featureless parking garage, where people kick and shoot at each other at close range, robbing the picture of some necessary dynamism.

Kurylenko plays the unnamed title character: a motorcycle-riding tough gal who delivers packages for underworld types. When she discovers that her latest assignment involves killing the key witness in an international criminal case against crime boss Ezekiel Mannings (Gary Oldman), the Courier goes rogue and becomes the witness’ protector, defending him against a succession of thugs.

Amit Shah plays the witness, Nick Murch. His nebbishy demeanor provides some occasionally entertaining comic contrast to the Courier’s steeliness. For the most part though, the strongest personalities in this film stay sequestered from each other. Oldman’s Ezekiel lays low in New York City, while a U.S. agent played by Dermot Mulroney pops up only periodically before the movie’s climactic finish.

Adler and his team of screenwriters have crafted a solid plot, following the tried-and-true formula of a tough gal fighting off one skilled hired gun after another. But the locations for these big battles are so cramped and unexciting that even a star as fun to watch as Kurylenko can just barely shine.

'The Courier'
Rated: R for strong violence including bloody images, and language throughout

Running time: 1 hour, 38 minutes

Playing: Starts Nov. 22, Laemmle Glendale; also on VOD
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