by Tony Medley
OK for children.
Let's start out
with a confession. It seems to me that the dumbest, most inconsiderate
people in Los Angeles are those who don their funny looking uniforms and
ride their bicycles on city streets. For years I was a bicycle rider,
riding my bike up the bike path from Marina del Rey to Santa Monica and
back. But then bicycle riders were courteous and respectful of traffic.
Today they don't care a fig that they ride double file, side-by-side
taking up an entire traffic lane and cause enormous amounts of traffic
to back up behind them. They are dumb because they don't seem to realize
that they are putting themselves and their 25-pound bike up against an
army of 4,000 pound vehicles. But they don't seem to care. They don't
care about their health and safety and they don't care about the
inconvenience they are causing the people driving cars who are forced to
drive behind them.
That said, this
is intended as a high-octane chase movie, but it falls short. I'm
surprised that Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Wilee), who has been developing
into a fine actor would waste his time on a vehicle like this that is
basically 91 minutes of people riding bicycles at high speed through
traffic-laden New York City.
movie is Michael Shannon, who plays a bad cop, NYPD detective Bobby
Monday who is bad beyond belief. He plays the role in such an
over-the-top manner that it becomes comic relief. Often his sneering
lines were greeted with guffaws from the audience.
Koepp (who also wrote the screenplay with John Kamps) steals a concept
from the new Sherlock Holmes films where Sherlock plans out his
fights in advance and we see them in slow motion as he views them in his
mind's eye. Here Wilee sees his alternate routes as he's speeding down
the street with their terrible consequences and chooses the one that
lets him get through without mishap. I didn't like them in Sherlock
Holmes and I don't like them here.
I got tired of
all the cinéma-vérité bicycle-riding shots of Wilee cutting in and out
of traffic, going the wrong way on one way streets and running red
lights with heavy, streaming traffic early on and started looking at my
watch less than 30 minutes into the film. Alas with only a whisper of a
story, the film continues with 61 more minutes of bicycle riding and
To be fair, I
saw the film at a screening on the Sony lot and some in the audience
applauded when it ended. One never knows whether the applause is due to
appreciation for the quality of the film or just relief that it finally
did, in fact, end.
There is a shot
after the end credits of one of the mishaps that occurred during the
filming and an injury to Gordon-Levitt. So if you've stayed that long,
you may as well stay until the actual end of the film. Chase films can
be fun if they are combined with characters about whom you can care and
a story that is at least minimally involving. Both are lacking here.