A while back, I described the "Bourne Legacy" as featuring the best motorcycle chase on film.
Well this week, it's "Premium Rush" that provides the best bicycle chase on film. And "rush" is the operative word.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as Wilee, a law student who hasn't bothered to take the bar exam because the thought of putting on the suit and sitting in an office repels him. Instead, he takes to the streets of New York every day with his steel-framed, single-gear, no-brake bicycle to deliver packages throughout the Big Apple. Dodging, speeding, weaving and occasionally crashing, this guy is legendary among his peers for always riding on the edge. His ability to analyze every maneuver, which we see played out in his mind, is really quite amazing.
When a customer specifically requests Wilee for a premium rush — that's a high-priority delivery — he figures it's all pretty routine until he's approached by a shady guy demanding the envelope. What follows is an ongoing chase through street, alley, store, parking lot, police station, impound lot, market, gambling den and park — you name it. Wilee and those pursuing him ride through it all.
You might be wondering, "What's in the envelope?" Ah, that's what Wilee is wondering, too. He suspects something to do with a drug deal, but is it? You're not going to find out here.
Of course, the package slips through many hands as our reckless cyclist commits himself to its safe delivery, especially after he discovers what's at stake.
There are a bunch of subplots percolating throughout the brief 91 minutes of "Premium Rush," but I have to admit, they're a lot of fun, including Wilee's love interest with fellow cyclist Vanessa, played by Dania Ramirez. She's buff, beautiful and a wicked rider in her own right.
Then, there's Christopher Place as an NYPD bicycle cop who becomes a running gag through the film. Michael Shannon stars as Bobby Monday. He's the guy who really wants the delivery pouch and through flashbacks we find out exactly what the deal is.
Compelling characters, humor, great street level views of Manhattan, cool special effects and even a halfway descent plot that filmmakers don't allow to get in the way of the action, "Premium Rush" is a fun weekend popcorn movie.
"Premium Rush" really only deserves 2 ½ stars, but I had too much fun so I've stretched it to 3.