Action Movies, by Mike Richardson, 26 September 2012

Director: David Koepp

Stars: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Shannon and Dania Ramirez

Country: USA

Runtime: 91 min

Release Date:

Language: English

Joseph Gordon Levitt plays the Prince of the Pedals in Premium Rush (aiming for a clever duel title “Premium Rush” can mean either “deliver this package especially quickly” or “a first class high”, gettit?) is a breathless chase movie, set in the “alternative lifestyle” sub-culture of the Big Apple ‘s bike messenger scene. The movie unfolds largely in real time with the occasional flashbacks to plug holes in the narrative, but plot be dammed this is all about the bikes and the bikers as they rush along the streets and avenues of New York at dizzying speed. It helps that the cast performed many of their own tricks and stunts, giving Premium Rush a real sense of danger.

Premium Rush

Premium Rush

Gordon-Levitt plays Wilee (as in the Wile E Coyote), a law student (why not?) with amazing skills on two wheels, who makes money as a daredevil bike messenger swishing through red lights and hopping the pavement to make his next drop-off in time. How much you empathize with him depends just how “cool” you think these dispatch riders are. By that I mean do you consider them A) one who dedicates their life and money to their fixed gear bike so that they look cooler than anyone else, while hanging out at bars and or bike shops or B) hard working life risking knights of the road or C) that wazzock that hit me when I was crossing the road and then acted like he had right of way despite the red light, as he had an envelope that was “too desperate and urgent” to go through the post and he was a real dude because he was paid more than the price of a stamp to play postman.

Back to Premium Rush, the plot has bad cop Bobby Monday (Michael “I’m the guy you don’t mess with!” Shannon) attempting to take a package from our hero, but Wilee refuses as that would defeat their “mail must get through” code and slaloms off through traffic, heading for lower Manhattan and the “important” delivery deadline. The contents of the envelope are a ticket worth $50,000 dollars to guarantee the safe passage of a child from China, but all you need to know is that it is a Manila Maguffin.

Levitt delivers a solid performance and is a very watchable lead Michael Shannon is a heavy slice of gammon as the dirty cop, while the rest of the cast is bulked up with Dania Ramirez as Wilee’s on-off girlfriend, Wolé Parks as Manny; Wilee’s would be biking nemesis and Aasif Mandvi as Raj who deals out the jobs to the dispatchers and starts the whole plot rolling.

Admittedly the film if is fun for the opening 35 minutes but soon becomes repetitive, becomes repetitive, the central scenario and overall execution of Premium Rush are both a little clunky and overall it’s underwhelming; especially the “spokes before hoes” assertions about camaraderie among the bike messenger tribe.

Premium Rush Trailer

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