This is a movie that knows what it is – entertainment. I saw the posters and wasn’t overly sold on the idea of a courier being chased around New York; then I looked and saw the cast list and decided it was worth a try, any movie with Joseph Gordon-Gordon-Levitt (The Lookout, 2007) usually is, it got me thinking there might be an angle to this movie.
This is an original slightly quirky but entertaining movie. Directed by David Koepp (Stir of Echoes, 1999) and also co-written by him with John Kamps (Ghost Town, 2008). Essentially the story evolves around a group of New York cycle couriers. Our Hero, Wilee (all through the movie I thought his name was “Reilly”) is hired to take a package across the city by 7pm. The thing is he was hired by his girlfriend’s former room-mate, Nima (Jamie Chung, The Hangover Part II, 2011) who asked for him specifically. It turns out he is the only person she trusts to deliver the envelope. Why the trust because it is worth about $50,000 and is essentially a promissory note to a Chinese gang leader in payment for Nima’s son to come over from China – watch the movie for the details.
Ordinarilly this would all be fine except at around the same time, there is a police detective with a gambling problem who owes a considerable amount of money and decides to go further in, in the hope of getting out of his predicament. As a result of killing a Chinese street kid that he took his anger out on, he’s now a liability and also must get the ticket to pay his debts. Detective Monday (Michael Shannon Machine Gun Preacher, 2011 is a man who just went over the edge and is fighting (and failing) to hold on to what little sanity he has as he chases down Wilee and the ticket.
As if Wilee hasn’t enough to do he has to try make-it-up to his girlfriend Vanessa (Entourage, 2010) while at the same time ensuring his love rival Manny (Wolé Parks, As The World Turns 2007). All this might be enough to ruin an normal day, but the rivalry with Manny results in them getting the attention of NYPD cycle cop played by Christopher Place (CSI NY, 2006), although usually employed as a stunt man, he works well as part of the comic side.
The fact that they use Place, a stunt man, will give you an indication that not all is safe and well of the streets. The chases are fast and more than nerve wracking. This is parkour on bikes. An interesting slant is the “time-outs” Wilee takes during the chases to look at his options and try go for the least fatal. This is similar to the device used in Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes (See Below) when our eponymous hero plans out his fight moves.
Through twists turns and falls the movie moves to a satisfying climax which works well, in line with the overall flow of the movie. The soundtrack also works well, with one final exception – the closing track Baba O’Reilly from Pete Townsend & The Who. There is nothing wrong with this track except as soon as I heard it I immendiately jumped to to thinking of a certain New York based police procedural show mentioned above. IT ofcourse did not help my “Reilly” mistake. A fine piece of music but one which I heard a few times lately when I should not have.
That said the script is sparse, the vocal and visual jokes work and the supporting cast of familiar faces bring the movie home. Uncomplicated fun