Premium Rush Review

I am not sure if I’m the only person who felt this way, but I had almost no interest in seeing this movie.  An action movie almost entirely on bikes? I have to admit the idea didn’t exactly grab me as something that would be “cool”.  But I am here to tell you that two people chasing each other on bikes can be pretty damn spectacular.  Sure it’s a little ridiculous when you get right down to it, but Premium Rush walk the line between cheesy and badass pretty skillfully, only faltering when forced to provide a plot to justify all of that said badassery.

Wilee (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is one of New York’s best bike messengers, a profession that falls somewhere on the spectrum between adrenaline junkie and mailman.  Things take a turn for the worst when Wilee discovers that a man named Bobby Monday (Michael Shannon) is after a package that he’s carrying, turning the movie into a high speed game of cat and mouse as Wilee rockets down New York city streets while trying to avoid Bobby and figure out why everyone seems to be after him. The plot isn’t anything that special, but in reality it doesn’t actually have that much of an impact on the movie.  If you’re going to a movie called “Premium Rush” for some kind of plot driven intellectually stimulating film, then you’re probably making a poor decision.

Although overall I did like the movie, I will admit I didn’t care much for the acting. Michael Shannon’s character may have just been poorly written, but I just didn’t think he does that great of a job regardless of his tremendous acting abilities.  Even Joseph Gordon-Levitt, the man who has supposed to anchor this film, was pretty hit or miss when you look at the film as a whole.  To be quite honest this is in many ways a pretty silly film, and whenever it tried to take itself seriously, my level of entertainment definitely took a hit.

In many ways, the cycling was the only thing I really liked about this movie.  However, this film had the good sense to realize this and jam-pack about every conceivable thing you could do with the concept in it’s slim 91 minute length. Bike races, bike and car chases, and a few thinly veiled excuses to pull off some very impressive tricks and stunts. Needless to say, it’s hugely entertaining, even for someone who doesn’t know or want to know anything about cycling.

Even with all of its flaws, I can comfortably say that this film is a success.  Bike messengers may not be the most inherently fascinating subjects, but David Koepp does a commendable job of making it interesting and capturing the essence of what seems to be one of the craziest jobs in the world.  I only wish they would let him direct the Tour De France.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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21 thoughts on “Premium Rush Review

  1. Lanah Koelle August 26, 2012 / 9:02 pm

    I haven’t seen this, but I’m glad to hear it’s not as silly as it looks at first glance. I had the same reaction you did. In fact, when I came across the ad for the movie in the paper, I burst out laughing. I love biking and find it exhilarating, but the idea of an action movie on bikes cracks me up. Still trying to dissect why exactly I feel that way…maybe because of this: http://youtu.be/V3nMnr8ZirI

    • Andrew King August 26, 2012 / 9:32 pm

      Honestly, the action movie on a bike thing is the only part of this movie that I didn’t find a little ridiculous. In that regard, they really pulled it off.

  2. Ashley August 26, 2012 / 9:06 pm

    I’ll admit that I really want to see this because I love good, stylish action films and of course, Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Glad to hear it’s a fun flick!

    • Andrew King August 26, 2012 / 9:33 pm

      It definitely has a style. That style may be kind of cheesy, but I think it is worth a watch.

  3. sohojay August 26, 2012 / 11:03 pm

    Gonna check it out. Great review. 🙂

  4. wattsatthemovies August 27, 2012 / 12:34 am

    I agree that the “bike action” was the best part of the film, and I wish the whole movie would’ve been that! Unfortunately, the rest of the story is formulaic and somewhat soulless in a tiring way: workaholic main character, troubles with ex gf and coworker, obnoxious co-worker who’s in love with the ex, bad guy cop, etc. All those elements brought down the film, but then again, what else could I have expected from Koepp? Not to bring him down, but this is the type of movie he excells at writing, but in this case, depth and heart was lacking…

    • Andrew King August 27, 2012 / 12:38 am

      I have to say, I will always have a soft spot for him just because I almost inexplicably love Ghost Town. But I have to agree with you. The other thing is this movie started out really strong, but it kind of petered out once the plot was introduced.

  5. Wes B. August 27, 2012 / 1:47 am

    I’ll definitely check this movie out. Thanks for sharing this review! I can’t wait to see more from you.

  6. drewpan August 27, 2012 / 2:35 am

    All my friends are into cycling now for some reason, so I’ll definitely be watching this with someone of them.

    JGL just doesn’t seem to do lousy movies… so it’s worth watching it just to see if this will be the film that breaks the trend… the way Brave broke Pixar’s.

    • Andrew King August 27, 2012 / 11:47 am

      Haha well I wouldn’t call this a bad movie, and he isn’t exactly bad in it, just not as good as I have come to expect from him. If Looper is as good as it looks, all is forgiven.

      • wattsatthemovies August 27, 2012 / 12:49 pm

        Haha!! Agreed!! If “Looper”‘s great, I’ll forgive this one! Since it’s opening TIFF, I have hopes that it’ll be good 🙂

      • Andrew King August 27, 2012 / 12:50 pm

        Especially since Rian Johnson is yet to disappoint my with one of his movies.

  7. Christopher Cross August 27, 2012 / 2:58 am

    My big question, is it just basically The Transporter movies but with bikes? That’s what it seemed like to me. Also, really disappointed that the acting wasn’t great because that was the one thing pulling me into seeing the film.

    • Andrew King August 27, 2012 / 11:49 am

      I haven’t seen the Transporter movies all the way through, but from what I have seen of it, this is not quite as serious. I suppose the acting was fine, but after seeing Micheal Shannon in Take Shelter and then going to this, it was an understandable let down for me.

  8. ThreeSentenceCritic August 27, 2012 / 11:00 am

    I’m with many others, here, initially it seemed like it was going to be terrible, but in reality it turned out a lot better than I had expected. Even with its poor points, I found it enjoyable, but like you say in your review, when it tries to be serious, it takes the fun away.

    • Andrew King August 27, 2012 / 11:51 am

      Every year they come out with trailers that make movies look terrible, so you have to go ahead, take the risk and see them. I thought this movie was a lot of fun, and definitely exceeded my expectations, but never rose to the level of a “great” movie I think.

  9. Steve August 28, 2012 / 11:38 pm

    “Bike messengers may not be the most inherently fascinating subjects…” – they are if you ever watch them operate in rush hour traffic! I am constantly amazed to watch them risk their lives to deliver some package. I’ve always been fascinated. That said, I’m still not in a hurry to see this movie. But that’s just me… Not a big action fan.

    • Andrew King August 30, 2012 / 5:39 am

      I have not really seem any bike messengers, but the general ideas of them doesn’t seem that interesting. Either way, it is a pretty cool movie.

  10. Mandy September 4, 2012 / 8:24 pm

    I didn’t even know this movie existed until you liked my post and then I checked out your blog. I must say, I love this blog! I’ll definitely be following you guys for movie advice.

    • Andrew King September 4, 2012 / 8:44 pm

      Thanks a lot! Always glad to introduce someone to new movies.

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