There are 1500 bicycle messengers on the street in Manhattan every day. At least that is what we’re told in the opening narration of “Premium Rush.” If you’ve ever been to Manhattan (guilty) you can’t help but marvel at how these two-wheeled delivery boys (and girls) risk serious injury to speed through some of the most congested traffic in the world. Wilee (Gordon-Levitt) is one of those delivery boys. A former BMX/trick rider he zooms through the streets on a bike with one speed and no brakes. When a last minute delivery order comes in,with instructions to get the package to Chinatown before a certain time, Wilee jumps at the chance to get the gig. But when he finds himself being chased and harassed though rush hour traffic, for the envelope he’s carrying, he may decide to quit his day-job!
An almost thrilling 90 minutes, “Premium Rush” begins very slowly to set up the speed in which director Koepp’s cameras speed recklessly through the streets. As the audience goes along for the ride you’ll marvel at how our two wheeled heroes maneuver around cabs and pedestrians to ensure they’re packages arrive, be it rain, sleet, snow or maniac.
The cast is so-so, with Gordon-Levitt having nothing more to do then ride a bike through traffic and antagonize the police. The first cop (Michael Shannon) was apparently told to do a comical yet serious imitation of Christopher Walken, which is a shame because when necessary Shannon is one hell of an actor. Here he bugs his eyes and whines his dialogue as he tries to recover what he thinks is his. He is truly one person to avoid on the streets, this current film included.
There is also a romance and scenes of what may or may not be human trafficking but unless the action is happening on the back of a Schwinn it pretty much is only hinted at on screen. The story is also very reminiscent of a 1986 film entitled “Quicksilver,” which starred Kevin Bacon and Jami Gertz. “Premium Rush” only comes to life when Gordon-Levitt plays “what if” – imagining the outcome on his person depending on which route he takes before he takes it. Clever, yes, but not enough to rescue this package!
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