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Movie rating system (0-2) The movie is balls (2-4) A few moments but mostly bad (4-5.5) Entertaining film but lacking something to make it good. (6-7.5) A recommendation meaning a good solid watch. (8-10) must watch films, they are usually leaders in their respective genre. I can also be found on Facebook or follow my blog at the bottom of this page. THERE MAY BE MINI SPOILERS AHEAD!!! But there will be no endings/twists/cameos/or large plot reveals given.

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Thursday, 7 March 2013

Premium Rush

Premium Rush
Rated: PG-13
Running Time: 91 minutes
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Shannon, Dania Ramirez, Wole Parks.
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?

Wilee is played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. He is fine in the role I guess. He is likeable and looks the part so I had no complaints about his performance. His girlfriend Vanessa is played by Dania Ramirez, and she is also fine in her role. Was she needed in this film as his love interest? No she wasn’t. Did she have to be a bike courier also? No she didn’t. The two of them constantly bicker which wasn’t remotely needed in this film. The stranger named Bobby Monday is played by the underrated Michael Shannon and it didn’t work for me. Not because Shannon was bad, more that this sociopathic character was too over the top. Shannon will always look like a bad guy but at least make him believable. Even his name is stupid in this.

As the film spins along, the viewer is treated to unnecessary background story,overly complicated plot developments, and weak overlapping character timelines. As the story starts to unfold of what’s in the envelope, Wilee must make some hard choices between morality, and trying to survive the day. Did I mention there was cycling in this?  As the film comes to a crashing finale, it is no surprise that with such a convoluted story that the end is nothing special. In conclusion, there are a lot of action scenes with cool stunts, and also many door prizes so it is always an easy watch. The script/story holds this film back from being a good overall watch though and that is what is so disappointing. A lot of the film seems stretched out as it struggles to be more than just seeing a dude on a bicycle.

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.


  1. Nothing new that we haven’t seen or heard before, but it still has some fun with itself, even if the writing really takes away from it. Nice review Tyler.

    1. Thanks Dan, I just read your review and it seems we noticed the same flaws. Entertaining but overly complicated.