Running Time: 91 minutes
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Shannon, Dania Ramirez, Wole Parks.
Directed By: David Koepp
Directed By: David Koepp
Rated: 5 out of 10
A bike courier must pedal for his life as he picks up an envelope with a mystery inside.
“The Tour De France was exciting this year!” “You happen to see that cycling race last night on TV?” “Bike couriers are super courteous and safe while riding.” “I wish I had hair like Curt Harnett.” These are just a few examples of comments said by no one ever in North America. So forgive me if I wasn’t exactly looking forward to watching this movie. This film surprised me though, and while the story struggled to remain believable, the entertainment factor was high. Premium Rush is a story about a bike courier named Wilee. He picks up an envelope for a routine delivery, but that all changes when a dirty cop starts to chase him all over the city for its contents.
The film starts out and we are introduced to Wilee as he cycles around the city. He gives a quick introduction into the world of bike couriers and the movie gets underway. The first thing you will notice about this film is the couriers are way too attractive to be couriers (obviously stereotyping, but I digress.) So after a quick introduction, we follow Wilee as he picks up an envelope from a nervous looking customer. What should be a simple job turns ugly, as Wilee is confronted by a stranger who desperately wants the envelope. From there, the movie pretty much breaks down into the stranger chasing Wilee all over the city. There are some cool shot scenes where the viewer is presented with what would happen scenarios if Wilee were to do certain things. For example, if Wilee was to make a left through an intersection, the viewer is presented with a scene where he gets hit by a car. If he were to make a right through the intersection, the viewer is presented with him slamming into a baby stroller. These potential to happen scenes were a neat fit into this film. Oh, did I mention there was cycling in this? So the action scenes where Wilee cycles through red lights, congested traffic, and tight spaces is fun and easy to watch. He has to always remain cycling as the stranger is hell bent on retrieving that envelope. It is in this chase for the envelope where the film struggles and ultimately will lose the viewer. Instead of just a simple scenario where there is a cheque in the envelope for a million dollars made out to cash, the story behind the envelope is a long drawn out tale of mafia men, gambling debts, corrupt cops, and friends with secrets. That coupled with some ill conceived scenes of humor,and romantic interests, and this film comes off as a sloppy mess. A traffic cop showing up multiple times to arrest Wilee is a perfect example of how this film went wrong. It wasn’t funny, and more importantly this is New York, why was this traffic cop always around in such a big city? Did I mention there was cycling in this film?
Director and writer David Koepp (John Kamps) struggled for the entire film to find a happy medium. The sweeping shots of the city while Wilee pedals down its hectic streets are proof that this film could have worked. His inclusion of many bike characters and their related stunts will not go unappreciated by most viewers. Levitt is the right call as the lead and is just a likeable guy. However, the story is so odd and forced that one can’t help but be off put from this film. A little more ingenuity and this film could have been good. It seems to be Koepp’s curse to make films that lack certain things to make them viable (Secret Window, Ghost Town). He does an okay job with this but it could have been much better.
I cannot recommend this film and while its title claims premium, it clearly falls under the average category. Did I mention there is cycling in this movie?
T Factor + If you do not mind unbelievable characters then this could score higher on the rating scale.
T Factor – If you do not like Gordon- Levitt as an actor then this could score lower on the rating scale.
If you liked this film reel recommendations: The Transporter, Speed.