A crooked cop (Michael Shannon) pursues a New York City bike messenger (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) carrying a dubious package in this urban thriller from director/co-writer David Koepp.
Film informationGenre: Action, Thriller
Premium Rush does a wonderful job of finding a novel plot buried within the realities of daily living in New York. Everyone that has ever visited Manhattan has seen those folks zipping in and out of traffic at breakneck speeds on bikes that look like they are as skinny as their riders. The truth is, those bikers are not very popular in the scheme of New York traffic. They are not exactly responsible drivers, bikes or not. It is a job requirement to be a bit of a daredevil to and take chances, as speed is exactly what gives them value in the Big City. Still, Premium Rush grabs hold of that particular profession and makes a hero into the best of their best.
Director David Koepp has created a great tale about a bike messenger that ends up with a really dangerous delivery. Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as Wilee, the best, fastest and most fearless of all the bike messengers. Wilee is not your standard bike deliverer in any fashion. He rides a bike that has no brakes or gears, and he drives it hard and fast. He is also highly intelligent as a law school graduate that refuses to take on a typical job behind a desk.
Gordon Levitt has slowly developed into quite the movie superstar and this movie will do plenty to help that along. Levitt dove into this role with both feet and it is clear that he has learned how to dedicate himself to his craft. Wilee is the leading man in the movie and you know it immediately. He takes charge and makes no bones about who is in charge on the screen. Levitt even had to get stitches after he had an accident during filming. This is Gordon-Levitt’s movie for better or worse.
The first thing you should know about Premium Rush is that the action is absolutely breakneck speed. Some people don’t care for the low angle, zooming in lenses that Koepp goes with. Though it can make one feel a bit sea-sick, it also allows you to feel the action in a very real way. Personally I love the style and found it to be perfect for this particular film. Regardless, you will be left breathless throughout the movie.
Wilee heads to Columbia University and receives a package to deliver all the way in Chinatown. He almost immediately is stopped by an off duty cop named Bobby Monday (Michael Shannon) who demands the package. Of course, that is against the policy for a delivery, so Wilee shakes him off and loses him. (Or thinks he did)
From this point on, the movie is primarily about Bobby chasing down Wilee, but it is much more than that behind the scenes. As the chases develop, we learn all the details behind the package and why Bobby needs it so badly. Between Wilee’s commitment to keeping the package safe and getting it delivered and Bobby’s insanity and relentless pursuit of the package, the movie hardly ever takes a deep breath.
There are some strange little plot problems here and there, but the movie does exactly what you hope it will. When you go to see Premium Rush, you want to watch high impact action scenes welded along with great drama. You get exactly that and then some. Although the movie is certainly formulaic, it has just enough twists and turns to ensure that you have to guess and think about it. If Premium Rush is supposed to be high speed delivery, then it hit the mark perfectly for this movie reviewer. I loved it and give it top marks for what it is.
A formulaic summer blockbuster.