Messengers have more power then people imagine. Every night, we’ll look through our email to discover whether or not we have an important message. I remember sitting in elementary school and getting excited when I would hear the message bell (maybe I get to go home early). Even during the sidelines of war, a message from a general could possibly turn the tides. Messengers have the task of being entrusted with the envelope to literally become the bearer of news. If I was a messenger, I would be curious about each note to be delivered. You never know when a small piece of paper could change someone’s life.
Premium Rush is a movie that is devoted to the lives of bicycle messengers in New York City. Working in that city can’t be easy. Besides dealing with pedestrians and crowded streets, just one car accident could end their career, if not their lives. Though it’s something I would never consider, at least this is a job that keeps them in shape. I give this movie respect for casting physically athletic actors for these bicyclists, as there could not be any other person that could do this. Joseph Gordon-Levitt makes great in his role of Wilee (as in Wile. E Coyote, which they reference several times), the man responsible for his message.
Wilee is having an interesting day. He receives a message to be delivered from a young Chinese woman. Things go wrong immediately when a man claiming to know her demands for the envelope back. Staying loyal to his job, he escapes only to find out that the man is really a dirty cop named Bobby Monday (played by Boardwalk Empire’s Michael Shannon). So rather then make the transfer, he looks to find her in order to not risked getting killed.
Also in the mess is his girlfriend Vanessa who coincidentally, is roommates with the same Chinese woman. She bikes along with Wilee through his adventure through the city.
The movie takes full advantage of the skills of the bikers and puts them in the most thrilling situations. Never becoming over exaggerating, the biking is the most thrilling I’ve seen (due to a lack of bicycle related movie made). In many scenes, they’re seen going against high-speed traffic, going down flights of stairs and even going over tall fences. Like the tagline on the poster, everybody has to “ride like hell” in order to survive this fast-paced environment.
Premium Rush is something that was better then I thought it was going to be, but still suffers from a flat tire or two. A couple of the key spoilers (which I won’t give away) are told in flashback, but little of the movie does this, and I would have rather had a start to finish story. The mystery that comes with this is very basic, dealing with a gang in Chinatown that deals with smuggling immigrants. Not to mention that the Chinese woman pulls off a obviously fake “Chinese-English” accent. But what saves it is some of the best bicycling you’ll ever see. You could call this the Cliffhanger of the early 21st century.
I’ll give this four bicycle signs out of five. The message delivered to the audience is, “Don’t bicycle in New York City unless you want to experience a slow motion crash” The biking is cool, but that’s all you should expect to be original.