Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Shannon and Dania Ramirez. Written by David Koepp and John Kamps. Directed by David Koepp. Produced by Gavin Polone and Mari-Jo Winkler.
If you've seen the advertising for this movie, you'll understand my shock when I found myself on the edge of my seat, sweating the fate of Wilee (Gordon-Levitt), the skilled bike courier who's in a race against time and the law. Yes, the movie's overflowing with cornball lines and senseless macho rivalry. And yes, it's highly improbable that someone would go through this much trouble on a bike when they could easily walk or hop into a car. But as soon as the rising action begins, and Wilee's typically smooth routine is interrupted by a man in need of a package that he's carrying, all skepticism goes out the window and Wilee's well-being takes precedence over the movie's blatant shortcomings.
The entire plot takes place between the hours of about 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. on a work day, and jumping around in time is surprisingly one of the movie's strengths, as it helps keep momentum in a not-so-solid and not-so-original story. Unlike most of the other cyclists, Wilee is fully committed to his job as a bike courier, which he finds more fulfilling than walking around in a suit every day, and has a passion for dangerous riding – he's taken the brakes off his bike to ensure a smoother ride. This particular day, he goes about business as usual when he's stopped by a man trying to intercept a ticket he's picked up that's worth a hefty sum of money. Things become complicated when the man turns out to be dirty police officer, Bob Monday (Shannon). So, Wilee has no choice but to rely on himself and out-ride him through the streets he knows like the back of his hand.
Mapping out all possible scenarios and critically measuring the risk of every turn, Wilee's internal decision-making skills are portrayed in the fashion of a first-person video game, reaching new territory stylistically and creating an interactive effect. And there are plenty of cringe-worthy action sequences that'll make you want to break the cardinal rule of movie-going and jump up out of your seat and bark orders at the screen. And oddly enough, this movie makes us root for the same people we honk at and want to run off the road every day on the way to work.
Aside from the sickeningly cheesy lines he had to work with, Levitt attempts to bring a level of seriousness and dignity to an uncommon profession, even when the script works against him at times – a scene comes to mind when his girlfriend and fellow rider, Vanessa (Ramirez) smashes off a man's rearview mirror with her bike chain, claiming he wasn't using it anyways. Shannon also brings an alarming level of dimension to his character, maybe even more than the film's protagonist – we don't know whether we should hate him, pity him or in some ways, like him.
Fully aware of the improbable plot and cheesy nature of the film, you'll feel pleasantly surprised with this forgettable but fun, high-energy action flick. On the other hand, if you're expecting a fulfilling story or something clever with some substance to it, you'll definitely be disappointed by the movie's playful disposition.