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Premium Rush - Review

Premium Rush

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

SPEED had a bus, Point Break had surfboards and now Premium Rush has bicycles… some of the most fun and innovative action movies succeed by thinking outside of the box.

David Koepp’s film was inspired by the death-defying antics of New York’s bike messengers on an almost daily basis as they zip in and out of the Manhattan traffic. The chase movie that ensues genuinely exhilarates.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as one such messenger, the carefree Wilee (as in the cartoon Coyote), who picks up an envelope that attracts the interest of a dirty cop (Michael Shannon), who pursues him throughout the city.

Although essentially a chase movie in its purest form, Koepp also drops in flashbacks to earlier in the day that help to explain the various characters’ motivations as well as the mystery behind what’s in the envelope.

And it also includes bone-crunching CGI sequences designed to show the split-second decision making employed by the messengers as well as the repercussion of getting it wrong.

The biggest attraction, though, is the stunts, which truly do take the breath away. Watching Gordon-Levitt and company zip around Manhattan is often awe-inspiring and Koepp deserves credit for keeping them real. No matter what you think of the rest of the film, we dare you not to be dazzled.

That said, Premium Rush has plenty more going for it. Koepp’s screenplay, co-written with John Kamps, is smarter than a lot of more general action films and displays a nice balance between the drama, the emotion and even the comedy.

While the film’s two leads also excel and justify their burgeoning reputations. Gordon-Levitt oozes charisma and likeability while Shannon goes suitably OTT as the corrupt cop. Both actors get the mix just right and provide viewers with an entertaining battle of wits that adds extra depth to proceedings.

Hence, while the action is undoubtedly the reason for seeing it in the first place, Premium Rush is something of a complete package. It’s a real treat.

Certificate: 12A
Running time: 91mins
UK Release Date: September 14, 2012