Hollywood Milks Bike-Messenger Culture in new Feature Film

Just when we thought the fixed-gear/messenger craze could not get any bigger, Columbia Pictures comes out with “Premium Rush,” a full-fledge Hollywood film with a plot described as such: “In Manhattan, a bike messenger picks up an envelope that attracts the interest of a dirty cop, who pursues the cyclist throughout the city.”

What results from that premise is a fast-pace romp zoomed in on a kid on a fixie, with track skids, curb jumps, skitching off taxi cabs, and general edge-of-seat urban riding drama being hallmarks of the show.

From the trailer, it appears the messenger aesthetic is milked good in “Premium Rush,” including a svelte fixed-gear bike, bullhorn handlebars, and the requisite bulky “New York”-style lock and chain around his waist. But the main messenger-protagonist, the actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt, is pretty clean-cut, it should be noted. Tattoos and the subculture’s ubiquitous “hoop”-style earrings were maybe too much in the film’s focus groups

The 91-minute “action/thriller” movie comes out in August. According to IMBD.com, while filming Joseph Gordon-Levitt rode his bike into a cab and smashed into the rear windshield, shattering it, and requiring 31 stitches on his arm. This film has not yet been rated, though for bike junkies the summer flic might be a must-see.

—Stephen Regenold covered another urban/fixed-gear phenomenon last week in the article “Seriously, What’s Up with Fixed-Gear Freestyle?”.

On a fixie, in hot pursuit; photo © Columbia TriStar

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Stephen Regenold is Founder and Editor-In-Chief of GearJunkie, which he launched as a nationally-syndicated newspaper column in 2002. As a journalist and writer, Regenold has covered the outdoors industry for nearly two decades, including as a correspondent for the New York Times. A father of four small kids, Regenold and his wife live in Minneapolis.