The crazy onslaught of home video releases right before Christmas had more than a few of us playing catch up on the latest and greatest releases that have hit the store shelves in the last few days. Available now on DVD & Blu-Ray is the visceral action ht of the late summer that puts us right into the thick of things on the hectic and often mean streets of New York. Brace yourself for the “Premium Rush”.
Starring Joseph Gordon Levitt and Michael Shannon
Co-Written and Directed by David Koepp
In “Premium Rush” dodging speeding cars, crazed cabbies, open doors, and eight million cranky pedestrians is all in a day’s work for Wilee (Gordon Levitt) the best of New York’s agile and aggressive bicycle messengers. It takes a special breed to ride the ‘fixie’; super lightweight, single-gear bikes with no brakes and riders who are equal part skilled cyclists and suicidal nutcases who risk becoming a smudge on the pavement every time they head into the gladiatorial arena know as New York traffic. This guy who’s used to putting his life on the line is about to get more than even he is used to when his last envelope of the day; a routine “premium rush” run turns into a life or death chase through the streets of Manhattan when a dirty cop (Shannon) will stop at nothing to get a package back and Wilee needs to lean on his moniker just to survive the day.
You can throw out any misguided notions of depth, plot logic and emotional character development in this film because this is purely about pretty people and the eternal chase, and what an eye popping chase this film truly is. Co-Writer/Director David Koepp and cinematographer Mitchell Amundsen keep us zipping through the streets of New York at high speeds and with some slick and understated visual effects they effectively keep us in the moment as we duck and dodge through the city streets with our heroes. The plot does have a couple of holes that you can drive an entire Tour de France race through, but it doesn’t matter as it is a lean and mean thrilling 91 minutes, and Koepp is highly adept at telling stories that aren’t necessarily all that weighty but fly across the screen with exceptional ease. Without the right cast, this film could have fallen flat really fast but Gordon Levitt and Shannon really go all out to make this film feel special.
Joseph Gordon Levitt who is becoming Hollywood’s most unlikely action hero is a lot of fun as Wilee. Stepping into the role of the sage former law student looking for something different in life as he risks life and limb navigating the traffic of one of the busiest cities of the world, Gordon Levitt manages to balance some emotional development through the course of the story while still rocking the vibe of being crazy and beautiful along with his fellow bike couriers. We see his wheels turning as he ducks and dodges the arrogant and dirty cop throughout the city streets who thinks he is smarter then everyone. As the cop, Shannon chews the scenery around him as he trades one-liners and zingers with Gordon Levitt and everyone else. His character manages to be a little bit menacing while also being the biggest buffoon and hands down the funniest character in the film making for a very entertaining on screen villain that will have you bust a gut while he does something horrible on screen all at the same time. Both men played off of each other incredibly well, and that is really where the magic lies in this kinetic chase picture.
A film that was built for Blu-Ray, “Premium Rush” looks and sounds stellar as the action flies across the screen. Special features on the Blu-Ray include “The Starting Line”; a cast and filmmaking featurette and “Behind the Wheels” a look at the Action and Stunts in the film.
It ain’t high art, but “Premium Rush” is a high octane popcorn flick that will push you to edge of your couch for a visceral 91 minutes of pure fun and don’t forget your bike helmet…you’ll need it for this flick.
4 out of 5 stars.
“Premium Rush” is now available for rent on DVD and Blu-Ray at video stores all across the land as well as via all major on demand services. You can also find it for purchase at all major retailers like iTunes, amazon.ca and HMV.
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