As sleek as a stripped-down racing bike, chase thriller Premium Rush hurtles through the New York streets at breakneck speed.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt is the man in the saddle: a kamikaze New York bike courier who gets chased across the city by Michael Shannon’s psycho cop after picking up an urgent package.
His fixed-wheel bike has a single gear and no brakes, and you could say the same of director David Koepp’s film, which is light on character and plot. But, even on two wheels, the action is certainly fast and furious.
Gordon-Levitt’s daredevil cyclist is named Wilee, as in Wile E Coyote, and he appears as heedless of his own safety as the cartoon character as he weaves through the Manhattan traffic dodging speeding cars and ambling pedestrians alike.
Yet his day gets even more perilous when he collects an envelope from a client (Jamie Chung) to take to an address in Chinatown – an envelope that Shannon’s desperate, gambling-addicted cop will do anything to obtain.
As Wilee’s cyclist girlfriend Vanessa (Dania Ramirez) and rival courier Manny (Wolé Parks) get drawn into the chase, as does a gung-ho bike cop (Christopher Place), a series of flashbacks reveal why the envelope is so important.
Every so often, Wilee checks his headlong momentum for a split-second to consider the possible outcomes of different routes through the traffic – and the film also pauses to show the varied consequences of each action.
The gimmick slows down the action a little, and the flashback structure slightly impedes things as well, but when Levitt – and a team of daredevil stunt riders – are in full flow there’s barely time to draw breath.
Released on Blu-ray & DVD by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
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