Top critical review
Gives an adrenaline shot to a rather thin concept
on January 31, 2015
I don't know of any other movie besides this one that makes a story out of bike messengers and bike culture but, for what it's worth, PREMIUM RUSH was a fairly fast-paced and engaging watch. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Wilee, a New York City bike messenger who's been given an envelope to deliver. However, things get a little hairy when a dirty cop (Michael Shannon) wants to get his hands on it. That's basically it, so for those looking for something a little more complicated or substantive you might as well look elsewhere. Still, there is enough here to recommend. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is as good as he usually is, even for such a thinly written role. The real standout is Michael Shannon, who I've loved before for playing crazy or wacked-out characters. I highly doubt that his character was written so well, so I would chalk a lot of what he did to Shannon himself. He was so fun to watch, and he had a lot of great lines. Other than those two, however, the cast were basically placeholders while character development was all but absent. But yet, the film had some interesting visual elements. One of these that was used several times was when Wilee would come up to an intersection and it would visualize all of the possible scenarios in slow motion. I thought that was pretty cool, even though it got a little tiresome the last couple of times. Also, considering the lower budget, there were fill-in computer animated sequences that mapped a route from point A to point B, I guess as a means of reducing how much footage they had to shoot. I wasn't as keen on that shortcut but, again, it did look kind of cool. The final, but crucial, element which makes this film work was the bike action. It was fast-paced, energetic and filmed well. Not to mention that there was a lot of it, which should come as no surprise since most of the film is was one long chase. Overall, I wouldn't say that the film is that special with the exception of the uncommon subject matter. Bottom line, they were able to take a rather thin conceit, stretch it just enough and add some visual flair such that it makes a decent way to pass 90 minutes.