RIDE LIKE HELL.
New York City bicycle messenger Wilee (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) clashes with a dirty cop (Michael Shannon), who’s deeply indebted to a loan shark, over a valuable envelope. As a screenwriter, David Koepp rarely shows much flair, but this thriller is the opposite. The story of a daredevil messenger who gets chased all over the city by all kinds of foes looks like Speed (1994) on a bicycle, a very tense and fun thriller that moves fast, looks dangerous and has nifty stunts and visual tricks, even in the shape of maps that help us navigate through the chases and the streets. Needless to say, the filmmakers take great advantage of NYC. The two stars are terrific as the savvy hero and the cocky villain.
2012-U.S. 91 min. Color. Widescreen. Produced by Gavin Polone. Directed by David Koepp. Screenplay: David Koepp, John Kamps. Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Wilee), Michael Shannon (Bobby Monday), Dania Ramirez (Vanessa), Jamie Chung, Wolé Parks, Aasif Mandvi.
Last word: “Being in the city and seeing bike messengers almost hit you make you wonder, ‘who are those assholes and why do they do that?’ It also just struck me as such a cinematic thing to do: to go through traffic on a bike and to see those kinds of chases. I’ve seen a million chases but we hadn’t seen one on bikes in dense traffic. In the beginning we were calling it a map movie in that we’d see a map and he has to get from point A to point B and point A is up here and point B is down here and there is a limited amount of time. That quickly evolved into he needs to be a messenger because it’s somebody who has a purpose and then the package could be of interest and stuff like that. Initially we did a lot of research online. The New York Bike Messenger Association is a newsletter that we found online and started looking into what they were all about. Then we met real messengers as time went on. We had a lot of real bike messengers there to advise us and appear in the film.” (Koepp, Latino Review)