Working through New York City, it must be quite a rush to weave in and out of traffic on a bicycle. The wind in your face, the adrenaline pumping through your veins, the excitement of the life and death stakes. It is this feeling that star Joseph Gordon-Levitt channels perfectly in his new action film, “Premium Rush.”
Levitt plays a bike messenger named Wilee who wants nothing more from life than to speed through the city delivering packages. But his deadly lifestyle becomes deadlier when one of his packages is wanted by a dirty cop desperate to retrieve it.
The film does a magnificent job of portraying the culture and lifestyle of bike messengers. The majority of the messengers are cautious and fiercely competitive with each other, while Wilee is more of a daredevil, biking without brakes and putting his life on the line daily.
Throughout Wilee’s hellish ride through New York, we are treated to several breathtaking action sequences that convey the dangers of the city’s hostile traffic perfectly. A frantic pace keeps things from getting boring and the amazing bike stunts will keep you on your toes the entire time.
While the film excels at showing off what the life of a bike messenger is all about, we never get a real insight into the person Wilee is outside of his high stakes job. Flashbacks spread throughout are meant to provide backstory into the characters, but all they do is advance the plot while compromising the expert pacing of the biking scenes.
The cat-and-mouse game between Wilee and the cop unfortunately builds to an unfulfilling climax. Levitt’s charisma and the exciting bike scenes keep things interesting, but ultimately the film is forgettable by the time the credits roll. In the end, “Premium Rush” is a well made film that provides plenty of thrilling set pieces for action fans, but it is lost among the more thrilling summer film offers.