When it comes to action and excitement, the summer season isn’t lacking in big budget blockbuster films, but it is very rare to see the kind of intensity shown in “Premium Rush” without massive special effects and explosions.
Director David Koepp wants to take you for an ultimate ride through the streets of New York in a way you have never seen before — showing you all of this intensity and thrilling moments from the perspective of a local bike messenger. Read on to see how Koepp and stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Shannon, Dania Ramirez and more deliver these moments to the audience.
It’s just another summer day in New York for Wilee (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a bike messenger who spends his day weaving in and out of traffic in the big city, without any breaks. That really shows his philosophy in life, always moving forward at an expeditious speed. He is having problems with his girlfriend, Vanessa (Dania Ramirez), who is also a bike messenger, and they both take their jobs very seriously and live by the code to always deliver their package, no matter what.
When a premium rush order comes in to deliver an envelope across the city, Wilee is on the job when he is stopped by Bobby Monday (Michael Shannon), a dirty cop who needs what is in the envelope to pay off some debts he has to the Chinese Mob. This begins the chase in and throughout the city that will show you the beauty of it and some lesser known areas as well.
With help from his friends, Wilee gets himself out of some very tough situations, but he has no idea the lengths Bobby will go to or the amount of pain and destruction he will inflict to get that package. Living by the single most important rule, and also his sense of pride, Wilee is on a race against time and an angry cop to deliver a package that literally holds the fate and lives of multiple people in the balance.
I have known about this film and have been following it for quite a while. Here are some interesting behind the scenes facts that will further enjoyment of it. Nearly 90 percent of the film is on bikes, so bike enthusiasts will love it. There are no green screens or special effects, the sequences and stunts are all performed by either the actors of their stunt doubles. In fact, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and his co-stars spent six weeks training with a professional trainer to the Olympians and they proved themselves throughout this movie. The traffic is real and therefore the danger is just as real. Knowing this makes the action and suspense affect you more. In fact, during shooting, a cordoned-off street was being used and a foreign dignitary broke through and parked right in the middle of filming and Joseph Gordon-Levitt swerved to avoid the car that wasn’t supposed to be there and ended up going through the back windshield of a Taxi and had to get 31 stitches in his arm — but was back on set the very next day.
This movie is fun and features an almost underground and unseen fraternity of these bike messengers and their code of conduct. “Premium Rush” is exciting and it makes you want to ride a bike like “The Fast and the Furious” did for racing muscles cars. Besides the action and stunts being some of the craziest things I have ever seen done on a bike, the film is directed in a very real and personal way. They show you what I call “bike vision,” where Wilee has to instantly map out his route through traffic and he goes over different scenarios and how they will pan out. That was pretty cool to see.
As always, Gordon-Levitt is at the top of his game and continues to impress, I especially loved the scenes he had with Michael Shannon and I thought they had great chemistry. While the majority of the movie takes place on bikes and the focus is mainly on the few key players, there are quite a few cast members that are worth mentioning, including Aaron Tveit, Jamie Chung and Aasif Mandvi.
The story does have a few loopholes and discrepancies in it, but they’re not easily spotted if you’re not looking for them. This is a fun film and will be especially enjoyable if you’re a bike rider, ever been to or lived in New York City or are a fan of Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Michael Shannon. So this is a solid summer movie that may not make you think too hard while watching it, but that is so you can sit back and enjoy it.
“Premium Rush” is in theaters now and is rated PG-13 for; some violence, intense action sequences and mild language.
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