Cinema Monolith

Reviews of movies from my giant DVD tower, and more.

Premium Rush

Premium Rush - posterCinema Monolith: 3/10
IMDb: 6.5/10
Radio Times Guide to Films: *** out of 5

Released on August 24, 2012
Rated PG-13
91 minutes

Directed by David Koepp

Written by David Koepp and John Kamps

Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Shannon, Dania Ramirez, Wolé Parks, Aasif Mandvi, Jamie Chung, Ashley Austin Morris, Christopher Place, Brian Koppelman, Wai Ching Ho, Henry O, Lauren Ashley Carter

As many of you know, a bicycle has been my primary means of transportation for several years now, and for the past three decades I’ve been using one for exercise, getting to work, and riding around just for the fun of it. And with all that bike-riding experience, I can tell you that after watching Premium Rush, I’m convinced I’ll never be as cool and sophisticated as the cyclists portrayed in the film. And like cyclists in other biking movies, such as Quicksilver and American Flyers, perhaps that kind of cool isn’t such a good thing.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Wilee, a bike messenger for a New York City delivery service, who picks up an envelope from a college student to be delivered to a location in Chinatown. However, before he can leave the university campus, he’s stopped by a man named Monday (Michael Shannon) claiming to be campus security, who demands the envelope be given to him. Wilee says no and takes off, with Monday in hot pursuit; the man is actually a gambling-addicted police detective who needs the contents of the envelope to pay off a large gambling debt owed to a loan shark.

And that’s about the gist of it: Monday spends the entire film chasing Wilee in and around downtown New York, car versus bike, with Wilee racing along city streets and sidewalks doing everything he can to outwit, outmaneuver, and outrun him. In the meantime, Wilee’s being hassled by bike police, a bothersome co-worker, and a snotty ex-girlfriend, and is frustrated by all those cars and pedestrians that keep getting in his way and hampering his lifestyle. And that’s what irked me about the whole thing: these arrogant bike messengers thought they owned the world, but to me they were nothing but a bunch of reckless nitwits with a complete disregard for everything and everyone around them.

I will say that, thankfully, I wasn’t irritated by Gordon-Levitt, who I like in most everything he does, and here played a pretty decent guy, and I thought Shannon did a great job at playing an overbearing jerk, who at least had a good reason to be one, and whose character could be cut a modicum of slack. I can’t say as much for everyone else in the film, however. These messengers and their devil-may-care attitudes had me not only despising them, but also wondering: do they really ride non-stop, sans brakes, through crowded city streets and walkways, and expect to be treated as if every paved surface was theirs and theirs alone? Do they seriously use their heavy chain locks to smash the side mirrors of vehicles that have the audacity to be in their way?

Obviously, I thought this was a very annoying movie, with annoying characters, annoying direction from David Koepp (enough with the flashy camera tricks already!), and an annoying story that wanted to be hip and trendy, but wasn’t. I guess if you’re a bike messenger, you might relate to it all, but otherwise I can only recommend this to fans of Gordon-Levitt, and warn everyone else to steer clear. In the context of this film, ‘premium rush’ meant urgent and very important; well, Premium Rush was neither. And I promise you this: if I’m ever in New York City, and you’re a messenger riding on a sidewalk and yelling at me to get out of your way, I’ll knock you on your goddamn ass.  (3/10)

Premium Rush

10 comments on “Premium Rush

  1. Dracula

    Three decades of riding is how many miles, bikes and tires?


    • Todd B

      I’m positive about one answer: a total of four bikes since 1988. As for miles, I don’t know how many I racked up between 1988 and 1995, but in ’95 I started riding my Cannondale, and through 2013 I’d put 30,300 miles on it. In 2013 I bought my current bike, the Trek FX, and since then I’ve put 22,000 miles on it. So, a grand total of over 52,000 miles ridden in 23 years. As for tires, I can only guess…maybe 2-4 new ones every year?


  2. geelw

    Oh, I didn’t like this at all, either. I did like the two leads as you did, but man, were the bike scenes obnoxious.


    • Todd B

      I’m glad I’m not the only one who felt this way…what a piece of crud! And ‘obnoxious’ is definitely the word to describe it all.


  3. Not on my radar. I guess I don’t know every title like I have my coworkers believing.


    • Todd B

      I can’t believe this is NOT part of your collection…but then again, you seem to have decent taste in films, so maybe I shouldn’t be surprised.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Julie Dunning

    LOL I instantly saw you in the headline photo – on your way home from work! Will have to add this to my very long list – thanks!


    • Todd B

      Good lord, do NOT add this to your list! And yep, that’s me, but I’d be carrying a backpack instead of a satchel! Here’s another photo of me on my way home from work to enjoy:



      • Julie Dunning

        Very cute! And that pic reminded me that I’ve seen this and thought it was “okay” – not quite as negative as your rating but it’s nothing I’d see again.


      • Todd B

        Thanks for clarifying, and thank heavens you won’t be watching it again! You’d have more fun watching Robot Monster!


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