Working one of the most dangerous jobs in the city, Wilee skipped out on completing his law degree to work as a bike messenger. With a massive competitive streak and a desire for the thrill, he has developed a sixth sense with managing to avoid injury while swerving in and out of NYC traffic. When a former roommate of his friend, Vanessa, is looking for a letter to get delivered downtown by 7pm, Wilee takes the job but is quickly followed by an NYC cop looking to get the parcel. Dodging traffic and the cop puts Wilee in serious danger and he eventually takes the letter back to Nima. She is met by Wilee’s rival, Manny, who is now the target of the cop when he agrees to take the letter. Wilee goes after Manny in order to protect him from the cop, who will go to any lengths to stop the delivery.
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Wilee), Dania Ramirez (Vanessa), Michael Shannon (Bobby Monday), Sean Kennedy (Marco), Kym Perfetto (Polo), Anthony Chisholm (Tito), Wole Parks (Manny), Jamie Chung (Nima), Lauren Ashley Carter (Phoebe), Christopher Place (Bike Cop), Aasif Mandvi (Raj), Kevin Bolger (Squid)
Gordon-Levitt anchors the cast but did not get the chance to show much in the way of range with the lack of depth to the film. His character is mostly a thrill-seeker with little backstory to provide a better context for more variety. Ramirez is about on the same level. The best of the performances was Shannon, who was only helped because of the opportunity to play more into the backstory. Mandvi was a nice addition to the cast, as he is able to provide a little humor but mostly fills a solid supporting role.
David Koepp developed a film that focused a little more thrill and excitement over substance. Wilee’s backstory seemed to be absent from the film except for a lack of desire to put on a suit, though it seemed that he had successfully completed law school. Instead, he had developed a heightened sense of awareness to be able to find the path of least injury. When he picked up the letter from Nima, he had no clue that the ticket inside was equal to $50,000. He was also clueless that Officer Monday had lost money through illegal gambling and was after the ticket he learned would save him from the debt. Wilee went through a lot of stress and pain before he tried to give up, but came back to push through the pain to help save his friends.
The lack of a backstory for Wilee makes it hard to connect with him as a character. The film actually deals with a lot of surface-level character development. Even with the explanation for how Nima ended up in her predicament or how Monday found himself in need of intercepting the ticket, both stories seem to be fairly lackluster considering what their actual scope truly was. Nima just seemed to be scared and timid, but finally got to the issue with her daughter late into the story. Monday’s story is known early on but he is the villain and the story is less important than Wilee’s in the grand scheme of appreciating the film.
Premium Rush is entertaining but lacks the depth to have made it a great box office feature. The film fells more like the quality of straight-to-DVD with the lack of depth and development of the characters.
Dan’s Rating: 2.5/5