In Manhattan, a bike messenger picks up an envelope that attracts the interest of a dirty cop, who pursues the cyclist throughout the city.
- David Koepp
- David Koepp
- John Kamps
- Columbia Pictures
Wilee is a Manhattan bicycle messenger. He is a Columbia law school graduate, who forwent the bar exam, basically putting off his white collar life in favor for being paid, albeit poorly, to do something he loves, namely cycling, although he realizes he cannot do it forever. Although riding his single gear brakeless bicycle is seen as reckless by most, he asserts that he in the past had only gotten into trouble when he hesitated by braking, especially as he has an uncanny ability to quickly scan a busy situation for the best path to cause the least disruption both to himself and to others. He is currently having problems with his girlfriend Vanessa, a fellow bike messenger who solely sees her job as a means to pay for her education and a better life. Wilee and Vanessa are in a close knit profession, which still has its internal rivalries, Wilee's especially with Manny, who also is interested in Vanessa romantically. Late one afternoon, Wilee is given a premium rush job at a local college, which he is surprised to learn is from Vanessa's soon to be ex-roommate Nima, who had to ask Vanessa to leave their joint living situation for a personal reason having nothing to Vanessa herself. Nima, a college student and Chinese national, stresses that the envelope needs to get to its destination in Chinatown no later than 7PM, in ninety minutes time. Quickly thereafter, Wilee is approached by a man, stating he is a college official, who asks for the envelope, saying that Nima had no authority to handle the envelope's contents on behalf of the college. When Wilee refuses to hand over the envelope to the man, a chase ensues, the man going to any length to get the envelope, even seemingly by killing Wilee. Wilee eventually learns the man's identity, which, in combination with an altercation he has with a NYPD bike officer, makes going to the police not an option. As such, Wilee has to do whatever he can to evade the man, the cycle officer, and the police in general, all with the eventual knowledge that the man knows the address of his ultimate destination in Chinatown. But as Wilee goes through mixed emotions about whether his life is worth what he doesn't know is in the envelope, he changes his mind when he does find out what the envelope's contents mean to Nima's life. Eventually, both Vanessa and Manny get involved in different ways, which also places their lives in danger in the process.