Everything is in motion in this movie from the very beginning. There are some very cool sequences that overlay a map on the city - which happens every time a messenger needs to get from A to B - so perhaps could have been used a little less. I also enjoyed the style choice of having Wilee approach a situation, and use his bike-messenger super power of slow-mo vision to run three scenarios of where to ride his bike and what would happen to him. For example, he approaches an intersection - he looks left, envisions himself riding that way, only to crash into a jogger. He looks center - no, collides with a taxi. He looks to the right and sees a clear path on the sidewalk, check - rides to the right. That is cool - the first time you see it, but again, it's overused a little.
- Joseph Gordon Levitt again does a good job. It's an interesting choice for him compared to some of his other choices lately. Between the Dark Knight, this and Looper - he's having quite a year. Incidentally, he took this movie pretty seriously, doing as much of his own riding as possible, to the point that he crashed into a taxi and had to get 31 stitches, they play that over the credits at the end of the movie. He plays Wilee convincingly, with just the right touch of snark, and boy does he love to ride! Or so he says over and over again while attempting to woo a fellow messenger - or maybe re-woo?
- Dania Ramierez plays the object of woo, a fellow messenger who rides equally fast and furious, but does put a brake on her bike. This leads to a "brakes are death" discussion that I really didn't understand - but again, I am not a bike messenger. She may or may not be still into Wilee, and she may or may not be attempting to make him jealous with another messenger. She's fine in this - but really it just made me want to watch X3 again, to see Halle Berry electrocute her.
- Wole Parks, previously seen in a bunch of New York TV shows (Gossip Girl, Law-n-Order), makes his film debut as Manny - who is the new up and coming hotness in terms of bike messengers. His bike has fancy gears and brakes, and he's faster and prettier than everyone else - according to him anyway. I also enjoy that he answers his phone, "Manny's office, this is Manny speaking" while riding his bike. He's the main foil for Wilee - he's constantly hitting on Wilee's girl, he's constantly bragging that he's faster than Wilee, he's taking some of Wilee's deliveries, he's insulting Wilee's bike (not his bike!?!).
- Daily Show correspondant Aasif Mandvi must have had some time off this summer to be in this movie as the Bike Messenger service owner/coordinator. He's the guy who answers the phone and tells the messengers where to go and when.
- As mentioned, Jamie Chung plays Nima, the woman with the envelope who starts off this chain reaction of madness. Her character is a Chinese immigrant here on a student visa (listen to Jamie fake a chinese accent), who has to secretly get money across town to - well, I suppose I shouldn't tell you, that being the big secret and all. Nima is also a friend of Wilee's because she is Dania's roommate and also works at the law school where Wilee went. It's a little confusing. She has less to do here than she did in Suckerpunch...let me take this opportunity to say if you haven't seen Suckerpunch, you're one of the lucky ones and please don't. Ever.
- Anthony Chisholm plays an older bike messenger who seems to be in the movie to be made fun of, and to say his catchphrase: "People take heed!" Well, he only says it twice, so maybe it's not a catchphrase...
- Christopher Place plays a beleaguered bike cop. It's a small role, but I'm mentioning him because he is hilarious in the pieces that he has.
- The reason to see this movie is Michael Shannon. Not just because you're curious about him before he plays Zod in the new Superman next year, but because he is an Oscar nominated actor (it was for Revolutionary Road - no, I didn't see that either). He's the villian in this and really chews into all the scenery, which is difficult, because it's always moving past very quickly. His dirty cop is slimy and dispicable and watchable.
6 out of 10. Gained points for the slick camera tricks that made me feel like I was riding the bike. Also lost points for that - as it went on, it got closer to making me nauseous. Gained points for Wole Parks - he was fun. Lost points for Nima showing up at the place where Wilee was supposed to deliver the envelope to, right after he delivered it - which was just after 7:00 pm, which of course was the climax of the movie. So - why couldn't she have just taken it there herself?
Bonus Video 1: Some Random Velodrome action - seriously, the Individual Pursuit is one of the most bizarre sports ever, only to be outdone by the team pursuit.
Bonus Video 3: ...and then there's Angels in the Outfield: