Director: David Koep
Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Shannon and Dania Ramirez
Wilee (Gordon-Levitt) is one of New York's seasoned and notorious bike couriers, and he lives to blitz through the chaotic city streets without any brakes to hold him back. Bobby Monday (Michael Shannon) is a crooked NY cop with a gambling debt, and he's out to intercept a package before it gets delivered. The greater part of the movie tracks the chase that ensues; with a significant dose of goofy humor, a standard and largely insignificant romance side-story and plenty of thoroughly cool biking sequences.
Ultimately, Premium Rush is something of a niche movie in terms of subject matter: in my estimation at least, the most enthusiastic cyclists are rarely giddy over the prospect of cluttered traffic in their path. The film depicts instead a specific – and relatively small – subculture, and does so fondly. Perhaps it is the fear that this will not sustain an audience's attention that drives it to inject the plot with enough other elements of convention (jealous rival, love troubles, Asian mafia network?) to hold up its running time. Surprisingly enough though, this formulaic rendering ends up creating a cute little film.
Certainly there is nothing remarkable about the film in the way it unfolds; it is all follows a fairly predictable ark. Even the performances aren't particularly engaging, and sometimes fall to the level of being plain cheesy. However, somehow, even these seem strangely appropriate to the kind of story that is being told: be it Michael Shannon as the old-fashioned, silly, but devious cop or Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the cheeky young cyclist. Regardless, all of this is merely what orbits around the core of the film: the various chase sequences which, while not spectacular to the modern film goer so used to excellent stunt-work, are still quite exciting and full of little humorous intervals.
It is difficult to convey in a quantitative sense how good I thought the film was; for, in terms of what I think about when I watch film this one would fare horribly low. Still, I also have the sense that premium rush doesn't ask to be taken seriously in that manner. It does not ask to be taken seriously at all. It offers itself as something to do for an hour and a bit to one who having something of a dull day, and it does indeed work quite well as a remedy for that intermittent boredom that plagues everyone.