Sunday, January 4, 2015

Quicksilver (Tom Donnelly, 1986)

Would someone get these guys some helmets, was my first thought as I watched Kevin Bacon, Laurence Fishburne (Band of the Hand), Paul Rodriguez and Louis Anderson whiz through Manhattan traffic on their bikes in Quicksilver, the best disgraced stockbroker turned bike courier movie to come out in 1986. Then it dawned on me, people in the mid-80s didn't care about safety. I should know, I suffered a nasty gash to the head after falling off my bike as a kid; I wonder if the scar is still there? (this, by the way, occurred when I was a kid during the mid-2000s, not the mid-80s... I'm not some senile old fuck). Anyway, as this was dawning on me, I suddenly realized that this film would also have us believe that Louis Anderson is a New York City bike courier. I'll let that mental image sink in a bit. Think about it: Louis Anderson, bike courier. Actually, the thought of Paul Rodriguez riding a bicycle is pretty ridiculous as well (he just doesn't strike me as the athletic type). That being said, Kevin Bacon and Laurence Fishburne definitely do some bike riding in this movie. Granted, they probably used stunt doubles in the wide shots, but you could totally tell it was them during the close-ups.

Not seen as a long term career, your average NYC bike courier views his or her (but mostly his -- the film is severely lacking when it comes to showing female bike couriers) time in this particular racket as a stepping stone to something better.

At constant risk of being run over by the thousands of cars that race through the downtown core on a daily basis, the bike courier figures if they survive long enough, they can make enough money to allow them to pursue a less dangerous vocation.

However, in the case of a hot shot stockbroker named Jack Casey (Kevin Bacon), the opposite is true. Falling ass backwards into the fast-paced world of bike couriering all because he lost his so-called "magic touch," Jack is left with nothing. Losing not only all his money, but his parents' savings as well, Jack decides to shave his mustache, let his hair grow long and become the Kevin Bacon we all know and love.

What I mean is, the stockbroker version of Kevin Bacon is someone I don't want to be around. On the other hand, bike courier Kevin Bacon is the bees knees in terms of being likable and shit.

I'd like to circle back to the opening credits before I continue, as to not mention them would be a grave error on my part. While a black and white photo montage of various NYC bike couriers might not sound all that compelling. The way they coloured in certain articles of clothing combined with the music of Thomas Newman managed to turn them into something truly artistic.

Oh, and it should be noted that while an uncredited Thomas Newman does provide the music that appears over the opening credits, the film's score was actually composed by Tony Banks of Genesis.

Okay, now where was I? Ah, yes. Another way they signified Jack Casey's transformation from a putrid slab of yuppie scum to an affable, maroon beret-wearing NYC biker courier was to change the way he moves. The arrogant swagger he displayed as a stockbroker has been replaced by a more playful yet purposeful walk.

You could say Jack Casey always wanted to be a NYC bike courier. It's too bad he had to lose everything to find this out. The only reason I mention this is because of the manner in which he obtains his trademark maroon beret. I won't go into too much detail about how he obtained it (let's just say he found it on the street), but the fact that he held onto it speaks volumes about his character.

"Quicksilver" is the name of the NYC bike courier service Jack Casey now works for. However, since he's too busy delivering a package at the moment, it's up to Hector (Paul Rodriguez) to introduce us to his fellow riders. He does so for the benefit of the audience, but also for Terri (Jami Gertz), the new girl on the block.

Other than Louie Anderson, the only "fellow riders" I recognized were Laurence Fishburne, who plays Voodoo, and David Harris (Cochise from The Warriors), who plays, coincidentally, Apache. And judging by the way Hector interacts with Voodoo, it would seem that the latter is a bit of a dick.

While I would love to explain to you why Voodoo is such a dick, I can't right now, as Whitney Kershaw is stretching in a black leotard in Kevin Bacon's loft.

Best known for playing Sillabub in the original 1982 Broadway version of "Cats," Whitney plays Rand, Jack Casey's "friend." Oops, I shouldn't have said that. You see, Jack Casey gets in serious trouble when he calls Rand a friend. To make matters worse, he calls her that in front of Jami Gertz. I know, what a dope.

Nevertheless, the film's best non-bike riding scene is the one where Whitney Kershaw tries to dance (her black nylons pressing tightly against her you know what... *whispers softly* her pussy), but is constantly put off by Kevin Bacon's childish, bike-based antics.

The other cool thing about this scene–you know, besides Whitney Kershaw's outfit–is the fact that it's set to "Casual Thing" by Fiona; who Miami Vice fans will remember Fiona from "Little Miss Dangerous," a.k.a. one of the best episodes of the entire series; "This is what you want, this is what you get."

Since nothing will probably top the greatness of the scene with Kevin Bacon and Whitney Kershaw being sexy and adorable in their loft, I might as well wrap up this review. I don't know, I'm just not feeling the subplot that involves Hector trying to get a loan to buy a hot dog cart. And the scene where some of the couriers show off their skills when it comes to performing bike tricks didn't do anything for me.

In order to give the film some added tension, a nefarious character named Gypsy (Rudy Ramos) is introduced (a lurking enthusiast who drives a lumbering automobile). Using the bike couriers to deliver items of an illegal nature, once Gypsy gets his hooks into you, you're pretty much dead meat if you don't do as you're told ("I call, you come," is his motto). Unfortunately, Voodoo finds this out the hard way moments after a thrilling head-to-head bike race between him and Jack Casey through the streets of New York.

Without Voodoo around to deliver his goods, anyone care to guess who Gypsy envisions as his replacement? No, not Jack Casey, he offers the job to Terri, who naively accepts. Well, since Jack Casey has developed feelings for Terri, and he doesn't want the same thing to happen to her that happened to Voodoo... let's just say, they confront one another. Bike vs. Car, may the best mode of transportation win. My money is Bacon. Mmmm, a bike fueled by bacon. *exaggerated drooling noises*

Special thanks to Digital Orc for recommending this movie.