Premium Rush is the latest movie from rising star Joseph Gordon-Levitt, last seen in the Dark Knight Rises.
Here he stars as Wilee, a New York City bicycle messenger, one of the 1500 messengers on the busiest streets in the world streets, risking their lives weaving in and out of the traffic to cash in.
What starts out as a premium rush run, where extra money is offered for a faster delivery, turns into a life and death chase through the streets of NYC, holding in the balance the fate of many.
Wilee is called in to carry out the delivery and ends up in a race against time with a desperate NYPD cop on his tail, other messengers who want to cash in and a disgruntled NYPD bicycle officer who was outwitted by Wilee in an arrest attempt.
Michael Shannon, next seen in Man of Steel as General Zod, plays dirty cop Bobby Monday, who intends to use the delivery to clear his debt to a local loan shark. His angry, violent cop plays well against Gordon-Levitt’s quick thinking, fast riding messenger. In his unmarked police car, he chases Wilee through NYC, unable to keep up with the bike in the jammed streets.
The sequence when Monday begins following Wilee pays tribute to the most important part of the famous chase in Steve McQueen’s Bullitt. The quick thinking and maneuvering shows the wit needed to evade and in turn, chase.
A few scenes are also reminiscent of the recent Sherlock Holmes movies, where Holmes envisions the confrontation before it happens.
In Premium Rush, Wilee must calculate the safest, quickest route through the traffic and as he is riding we see the possibilities, some of them cringe inducing at the possible end result.
The best scene of the film comes at the end, when Wilee needs the help of many of those 1500 bike messengers, to distract Monday. Hundreds of bikers show up, shuffling Monday between all of them as Wilee moves on.
What this film has going for it is the sheer, edge of your seat stress it induces. Watching the bikers, with fixed gears and no breaks, weaving between cars, swiftly opening doors and pedestrians, one can only cringe at the close calls in this movie.
The shots are clean and tight, focusing on Wilee and his swiftly moving competitors, with just enough of an emotional drama to keep the movie from feeling like one long chase sequence.
At a running time of only 90 minutes, director David Koepp took a simple premise and made it into a witty and thrilling end of summer movie season.