The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Chase film doesn’t stop for lights, cops, audience

Wilee+%28Joseph+Gordon-Levitt%29+rides+around+Manhattan+without+brakes+in+Premium+Rush.%0D%0APhoto+courtesy+Columbia+Pictures
Wilee (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) rides around Manhattan without brakes in Premium Rush. Photo courtesy Columbia Pictures

By Joshua Knopp/special assignments editor

If you can get past it being a movie about bike messengers, Premium Rush is a lot of fun.

The movie follows Wilee (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) through the streets as he delivers a parcel that is more valuable than he bargained for. Wilee could be a lawyer, but because of his pervasive death wish, he continues to work as a bike messenger.

Also, because of his pervasive death wish, he rides an unstoppable bike — literally, it can’t stop, he doesn’t have any brakes.

Wilee (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) rides around Manhattan without brakes in Premium Rush.
Photo courtesy Columbia Pictures

Watching him fly around Manhattan thrills when the movie starts, but once he’s chased by other bikes and even cars, the excitement escalates quickly.

Premium Rush is a gleeful chase movie that stops as often as its main character does — never. The pure rush Wilee gets from riding his bicycle gets sent straight to the audience with a combination of hyper camera work and daring stunts.

While the film doesn’t have a pause button, it does have a rewind. Premium Rush unfolds in a broken timeline that is woven together deftly such that audience members aren’t told what’s going on before the character they’re following. With a digital clock visible onscreen for the time skips, everything is clear, and a plot with many moving parts is made easy to digest.

The plot is also concise enough that there’s more room for action. Actually, there’s a lot more room for action. In a scant 91 minutes, action or something action-ish is onscreen for at least … well, all of it. In the end, it becomes a problem. The most scintillating sequence by far is Wilee on his bike being chased by Bobby Monday (Michael Shannon) in a car, and that’s over in the first 30 minutes.

The action is reversed, steadily winding down from that early peak to a climax that’s kind of dinky. After Monday chases Wilee in a faster, bigger machine that never gets tired with the intent of violently stealing the MacGuffin from him, a cop on a bike trying to give him a ticket just isn’t interesting.

Further, most scenes go on way too long and dilute their effectiveness. Overlong action scene after overlong action scene manage to turn 91 minutes into a long time.

If one can stand it, the movie is fantastic, but the dichotomy between steadily increasing drama from the plot and steadily decreasing drama from the action nags and can’t be the desired effect.

A legal note — author Joe Quirk is suing Sony Pictures, Columbia Pictures, co-writer John Kamps and co-writer/director David Koepp for copyright infringement, claiming the screenplay is based on his 1998 novel The Ultimate Rush.

So, there’s that.

Donate to The Collegian

Your donation will support the student journalists of Tarrant County College. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Collegian