In the age of internet technology, FedEX and faxing, it seems like the bike messenger would be extinct. But in huge urban metropolises, traffic is so bad and congestion is insane that a man on a bike who can go were no car or van can go actually gets a package to a destination quicker.
They risk life and limb as they pedal as if their life depended on it. They are only packaged by how many packages they can deliver and pick up so it is a very thankless job.
In “Premium Rush”, Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as Wilee, a frisky, risk-taking bike messenger who is having a rather bad day. He picks up a package from his girlfriend’s roommate (Jamie Chung) with orders to get it across town as quick as possible. She picks Wilee because of he won’t ask any questions and how much he is respected by his girlfriend (Dania Ramirez).
As soon as Wilee exits the office to retrieve his bike, a cop, Det. Robert Monday (Michael Shannon) asks for his package. Wilee refuses and says he will have to talk with dispatch. It turns out that Monday is a corrupt cop with a ever growing gambling problem and if he gets Wilee’s package his debt to the Chinese Triads will be paid.
The movie is a long drawn out chase sequence as Wilee avoids Monday, a bicycle cop, the Triads and a rival messenger (Sean Kennedy). Think of it as the “Tour de Wilee”.
The movie is co-written and directed by David Koepp, who is best known for his screenplays to “Jurassic Park”, “Mission: Impossible” and “Spider-Man”. Koepp has expanded into directing with thrillers like “Secret Window”, “Stir of Echoes” and “The Trigger Effect”. It has been four years since Koepp has directed, his last was 2008’s flop “Ghost Town” with Ricky Gervais.
“Premium Rush” seems to be a pleasant return for Koepp in the director’s seat. His pinpoint execution, really captivating edits and use of Google Map type graphics makes the film really a treat to watch. Also it is all held together by a really relatable performance form JGL.
My biggest problem with the film was that it was just so repetitive and for a writer who knows good screenplays you wish there was more meat to this bike messenger sandwich. It is just so basic, tired and dull wrapped in a flashy package. Michael Shannon does the best he can with the corrupt cop but really it is such a cliche.
I expected more from an elite Hollywood screenwriter but like his previous directorial efforts, Koepp hasn’t found a way to bring his genius for script writing into his directorial projects.
3.5 out of 5
So Says the Soothsayer