JOSEPH Gordon-Levitt is a rising star, obviously, after his role in The Dark Knight Rises. In Premium Rush, he plays Wilee, a hotshot among New York’s bicycle messengers. Imagine that — they still exist, even with the Internet.
In what is a routine but “premium rush” delivery, Wilee’s article of an envelope finds him in a thrilling chase — on bicycle — with a policeman (Michael Shannon).
The play on the phrase “premium rush” is nice — one for a rushed delivery, another for a megathrill.
The thrills come in the bicycle antics Wilee and his fellow messengers — dodging crazy taxis and other bad drivers, and traffic jams of both cars and people — go through as part of their jobs.
I don’t know if Gordon-Levitt, 31, did his own stunts, but I’ve read that he prefers to do so. The bicycle has no brakes, and has just one speed.
The last movie I remember about the bicycle messengers is the 1986 Quicksilver, starring Kevin Bacon. As I said, it’s amazing American cities still employ them.
But Quicksilver, to me, has a watchable, if cliched story. It’s about Jack Casey (Bacon), once a hotshot stock broker, who loses it all. So he ends up at a speed delivery firm in San Francisco which relies on bicycles. Casey loses his nerve after the stock crash but his friends help his regain his self-respect.
In Premium Rush, it’s action with such a lame story — an envelope containing illicit material.
Watch Premium Rush for a thrilling bicycle ride.
Better yet, watch the television docu-reality series called Triple Rush, about bike messengers in NY. Many of the stunt doubles and characters appear in this movie.
Directed by David Koepp
Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Shannon, Dania Ramirez, Jamie Chung
Duration 91 minutes