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'Premium Rush' Movie Review

Don't Be in a Rush to Check This One Out in Theaters

About.com Rating 2 Star Rating


Joseph Gordon-Levitt in 'Premium Rush'

Joseph Gordon-Levitt in 'Premium Rush'

© 2012 Columbia TriStar Marketing Group, Inc. All rights reserved
There's a fascinating story to be told of bike messengers working the streets of New York City. Unfortunately, Premium Rush isn't telling that story. The action scenes are intense and you can't ask for a better lead actor than Joseph Gordon-Levitt, but the story simply lets everyone - JGL included - down.
As a screenwriter, David Koepp's given us Toy Soldiers, Jurassic Park, the first Mission Impossible and the first Spider-Man, and Panic Room. But, he's also been responsible for Ghost Town, Angels & Demons, and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. His batting average obviously isn't 100%, but he's had his share of box office hits. As a director, Koepp is equally hit and miss, with The Trigger Effect, Stir of Echoes, Secret Window, and, again, Ghost Town. And I bring his past triumphs and disappointments up to make this point: this time, within this one movie, Koepp's batting .500. As the film's screenwriter, he let himself down. As the director, Koepp's handling of the action scenes was first-rate. He just doesn't have an interesting story to work off of to fill in the gaps between the scenes of high-speed, adrenaline-pumping wild bike rides through crowded NYC streets.

Premium Rush follows Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Wilee, a law school student who left just prior to taking the bar exam to dedicate himself to cycling. He is fearless, fearsome, and reckless - riding a bike sans brakes and gears. You get the feeling he'd work as a bike messenger for free just for the thrills and challenges it provides, if he didn't actually need the money the job provides to pay his bills.

On an otherwise normal day, Wilee's called to his old college to pick up a letter from a friend of his and deliver it across town in 90 minutes. He has no idea what's in it and in most cases he wouldn't care. However, this particular envelope has attracted the attention of a corrupt cop who is willing to do anything - including kill the messenger - to intercept its delivery.

The Bottom Line:

Michael Shannon absolutely steals the film as the psycho cop and Joseph Gordon-Levitt is, as always, entertaining to watch. But the plot has more holes than Swiss cheese, there's nothing logical about any of the actions within the film, and watching talented cyclists do life-threatening stunts can only carry a movie for so long. At a short hour and a half running time, Premium Rush manages only to go nowhere fast.

There's a love story with no heat (between Gordon-Levitt and Dania Ramirez) and a message crammed in toward the end that's rendered meaningless by the complete lunacy of the surrounding story. Bike messengers - and moviegoers - deserve better.


Premium Rush was directed by David Koepp and is rated PG-13 for some violence, intense action sequences and language.

Theatrical Release: August 24, 2012

This review is based on a screening provided by the studio. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

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