Slick action about a New York bike messenger, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Michael Shannon
There are three major factors that make David Koepp's Premium Rush worthy of recommendation: breathtaking real stunts that do justice to the film's name, a charismatic leading man in Joseph Gordon-Levitt and a formidably villain in Boardwalk Empire's Michael Shannon. What's more, it demonstrates a level of wit and intelligence that is beyond the reach of a lot more convoluted action films while stripping things down to the thrill of the chase and delivering it all in a tight 90 minutes. Shot on location in New York Koepp's film is as much a tribute to the death-defying bravado displayed by the Big Apple's bicycle messengers on a daily basis as it is a slick homage to the type of action ethos that has made the likes of Speed and Top Gun so enduring.
Gordon-Levitt plays Wilee, the best of New York's aggressive bike messengers, who lives for the thrill of the chase (he sees no need for brakes) but who picks up more than he bargains for when his latest package puts him on a collision course with a corrupt NYPD detective named Bobby Monday (Shannon). The hot-headed Monday needs the contents to help him clear gambling debts but doesn't count on Wilee's skill on two wheels. And while their head-to-head plays out over the course of the movie in a series of stunningly choreographed chase sequences, Koepp also drops in flashbacks from earlier in the day which help to explain the mystery behind what's inside the envelope.
He also employs slick, often bone-crunching visual effects to display the quick decision making applied by Wilee as he bids to navigate his way out of near-certain crash scenarios. It all combines to make Premium Rush a satisfying piece of head-rush cinema that should leave viewers feeling exhilarated.
General release from Fri 14 Sep.