‘Premium Rush’ gives bike messengers more appeal

Movie review
By: Frank Miller Special to The News Messenger
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“Premium Rush” Directed by David Koepp Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Shannon and Dania Ramirez Rating: Three out of five stars ‘Premium Rush’ gives bike messengers more appeal By Frank Miller Special to The News Messenger Most of cinema’s best chase scenes involve fast cars, planes and even the occasional alien spaceship. Fixed-gear bicycles don’t necessarily conjure up images of Steve McQueen but “Premium Rush” might be the film to give bike messengers some edgier appeal. Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as Wilee (yes, like the coyote), who is tasked with transporting a mysterious envelope across Manhattan. Wilee rides a fixie, a bike with no gears or brakes and his reckless abandon makes his friends think he has a death wish. That wish gets put to the test when a crooked cop, played with scenery-chomping glee by Michael Shannon, tries to shake Wilee down for his cargo’s contents. It’s a simple concept that gets a lot of traction from a sense of fun and some solid performances. The film is ultimately harebrained but director David Koepp (“Secret Window”) plays everything with an obvious wink and a hefty nudge. The lack of self-seriousness gives “Premium Rush” the ability to overcome its inherent goofiness to offer up some moderate thrills and laughs. Make no mistake, there’s not a lot underneath the surface of this film. Wilee has a back story that involves him skipping out on law school but it’s so briefly touched on that it hardly qualifies as pertinent information. There’s also a bit about a character’s familial plight but it comes into play so late in the film that it’s hard to muster up any solid empathy. What the film lacks in depth and substance, it makes up for in scenes of bicycle trickery. It is a genuine kick to watch Wilee and friends traverse the claustrophobic streets of Manhattan with expert skill and a lack of concern for their own safety. “Premium Rush” isn’t a film that moviegoers will turn out for in droves. However, it is a pleasantly distracting little film that is certainly more fun than its concept will lead you to believe. Frank Miller is a Sacramento writer.