Premium Rush (dir. David Koepp, 2012) – A bike courier unwillingly accepts the most dangerous job of his life, with a corrupt police officer hot on his trail.
Premium Rush does for bikes what District 13 did for parkour, and as its name suggest, delivers in fast-paced thrills.
There is no question that BMX in the middle of Manhattan traffic in real life will be fatal within seconds. That is why we are grateful for the movie world. Weaving through cabs and New Yorkers at extreme speeds, stunt cycling has never sent your heart on a race quite like Premium Rush does.
The tag “Ride Like Hell” splashed across the poster cannot be more appropriate. The thriller is fast, furious and a whole lot of fun. Director David Koepp keeps his movie on the constant go for the most part, sustaining maximum tension along the trail.
Echoing Speed, the simplistic plot risks being an empty shell. The non-linear narrative thus works to its advantage, presenting an ordinary story in a new light. Not every fancy effect works. While alternative scenarios add a stylish touch, some road maps feel excessive and slow the action down by a mile.
The movie also suffers from weak characterisation. To worsen matters, Jamie Chung makes for the most uncomfortable casting as her character Nima puts on an unnecessary faux-accent. Even a native speaker needs subtitles for her Mandarin.
Thankfully, the rest of the leading cast lends their empty archetypes some compelling personalities. Wilee (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) pulls us in on his reluctant quest fraught with danger, and gets an extra star for the 31 stitches he received in real life.
Bobby (Michael Shannon) makes for an intimidating antagonist in pursuit. The Take Shelter star slips into the role of a mental corrupt cop with ease. While his character is trite, his menace feels palpable. His extremely persistent bike cop takes home the best character award, as you will laugh and hope for a pay raise for that mad man.
Style over substance? Maybe. But the high-octane Premium Rush promises an outstanding ride full of thrills, only for the light-hearted.