David Koepp strikes again!
Wilee (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a New York City bicycle messenger. He is given a package that he has to deliver to a specific person across town by 7:00pm. Hot on his and the package's trail is Bobby Monday, a gambling-addicted New York police officer. Who will succeed in delivering the mysterious package? If you know David Koepp, then you know the answer.
Why is he named Wilee? It's never really explained, and a few coyote jokes are thrown out there to try and liven up the stilted dialogue. And speaking of dialogue, as this is supposed to be one, long chase film, most of the character back stories are thrown out during the bicycle chase. Wilee is smart; yet he hasn't taken the bar exam because he doesn't want to wear a suit and tie. Really? What an asshole. So instead, he lives his life on his bicycle: no brakes.
Michael Shannon gives an over the top performance as Monday. He rides the line between stereotypical corrupt cop and James Bond villain. He is in debt to a local loan shark, but is given the chance to intercept Wilee's packages to clear his debt. No real explanation is given as to why Monday is so over the top, but it really adds nothing to the film.
Beyond these 2 main characters, we have Wilee's friends: his ex-girlfriend, Vanessa, who also works as a bike messenger and also his rival, Manny, who has eyes for Vanessa. Will Vanessa go with Manny or make amends with Wilee? I know, I had no clue either.
Anyway, beyond characters, Koepp infuses the film with a lot of Google Maps-type special effects to pinpoint where Wilee is and where he must get to. Beyond that, Wilee also uses his "bicycle-vision" to slow down time and know exactly where he needs to ride to avoid obstacles. These uses of special effects to try and make the film seem more important grow tiresome very early on and wear out their welcome. These uses of effects seem like a way to spice up what turns out to be a very boring and bland film.
When the film is on the bicycles, the runtime moves the fastest. The chase through New York City is fun; watching the bicycles zip through New York City is entertaining to watch. Unfortunately, the film takes many stops to get off the bicycles and when this happens, the film grinds to a halt. The plot; when detailing the content of what Wilee is carrying, takes itself too seriously. The film should have just stayed on the bicycles and pedaled through until the ending.
As it is, this is a harmless and very forgettable end of the summer offering.