In a year when Joseph Gordon Levitt has been in “The Dark Knight”, “Looper”, and "Lincoln”, “Premium Rush” had to have been his fun paycheck. A movie in which his physical caliber was put to the test, “Premium Rush” is no magnum opus, but it’s a literal thrill ride through the streets of New York City.
Levitt plays Wilee, an adrenaline junkee who would rather cycle with no breaks than finish law school. Upon the opening ten minutes of the film, it seems that we’ll be in for a cheese fest with bad CGI. After a routine package pickup, Wilee soon discovers that the letter sized envelope he’s carrying may be worth more than he bargained for as a dirty cop chases him through the city. A “French Connection”-like chase of bike versus car ensues and the rush begins.
Michael Shannon plays Bobby Monday, the corrupt cop who needs to clear his gambling debts. Intercepting the package means repaying his debt and saving his life. While the delivery of the package to the rightful place means Nima (Jamie Chung), its rightful owner, can have her son brought in from China.
As the movie pulses forward, Wilee calls on the help of fellow riders Vanessa (Dania Ramirez) and Manny (Wole Parks). Each biker brings their own set of skills to the table as they zip around curves, up ramps, over cars, and do all kind of maneuvers we could only dream of doing.
Director David Koepp delivers a well paced, visually stunning film that puts the viewer in the rider’s seat. The non-linear style of editing does what every film should do, leave the audience wanting to know the answer to a question. What’s in the package? Why is it so valuable? Will our hero survive?
Even though the ending is typical, the film is fun. Ultimately, it’s nothing but a good time on two wheels.