Movie Review: Premium Rush

Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Dania Ramirez, Michael
Shannon, Jamie Chung
Direction: David Koepp
Genre: Action
Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
Wilee ( Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is the best of New York’s daredevil bicycle couriers. However, when he picks up an envelope for delivery on a ‘premium rush’ priority, he finds himself racing against more than just the clock.

While the plot and premise of Premium Rush is fairly simple and generic – the all-important message that must reach its intended recipient, come what may – this, for the most part, isn’t just a chase film.

The dashing Wilee eschews a nine-to-five desk job for the sheer thrill of being a bicycle messenger with a death wish – dodging speeding vehicles, pedestrians and open doors along the way. As if to underscore his rebellious streak, Wilee rides fast, with no brakes on his sports bicycle. “Brakes are death,” he nonchalantly tells his estranged and concerned girlfriend Vanessa ( Dania Ramirez), who is also a bike courier.

She sees his wild streak as a hindrance to them having a secure future. After all, it would only take a split-second of misjudgment for him to meet with a fatal accident whilst riding. Small wonder then, that Gordon-Levitt needed 31 stitches in his right arm while filming the movie. Wilee’s also got competition, in the form of the muscular and almost comical Manny (Wole Parks), who has his eye on Vanessa.

But this love triangle is put on the back-burner one day, when Nima ( Jamie Chung) hands Wilee a small white envelope that must be delivered downtown by 7.30 pm, the very same day. Enter the menacing bad cop Bobby Monday (very convincingly played by Michael Shannon), who has a nasty gambling habit coupled with a single-minded,almost obsessive need to get his hands on that envelope. Various jump cuts in the movie and cool map-style visuals help explain situations and embellish the story quite nicely.

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The conversations between Wilee and Vanessa however, as they zip, dodge and weave their way through traffic come across as unnecessary and cheesy. There’s the obligatory moral dilemma thrown in too. That aside, Premium Rush is fairly coherent, the bike stunts are cool and the film is filled with fast-paced chases that will often have you at the edge of your seat.

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