Premium Rush movie review: Tour de Manhattan

Aug 24, 2012 at 9:00 a.m. ET

Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a bike messenger with a mission: Make one very special delivery while being chased by a crooked cop who will stop at nothing to get his package. If you feel the need for speed, you’ll love this cycling cinematic treat!

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Perfect for adrenaline junkies!

Wilee (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), pronounced like coyote, has a law degree but declined to take the bar. Instead of a high-powered attorney, he’s a pedal-powered bike messenger in New York City because he equates sitting in an office with death. He’d much rather be racing through the hazardous streets of New York where many real dangers await.

Nima (Jamie Chung), a young Chinese woman studying in New York on a student visa, arranges to have a mysterious package picked up by Wilee, whom she requested by name. Not only is Wilee the on-again, off-again boyfriend of her roommate Vanessa (Dania Ramirez), Nima knows Wilee is the best bike for her buck.

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Meanwhile, unscrupulous cop Bobby Monday (Michael Shannon from HBO’s Boardwalk Empire) has a wicked gambling addiction and owes his Chinese Pai Gow Poker thugs nearly $20,000 dollars. As one of the card dealers puts it, “Anglos don’t have the math for Pai Gow.” Well, at least Bobby Monday doesn’t.

Instead, the cop gets a tip that Nima’s package worth roughly the same amount as his debt is being delivered via bike messenger and should he intercept that package, he’ll be back in the black. Given that Bobby Monday is a police officer with a gun, this should be an easy task -- so he thinks.

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Full of Google-style maps that appear on the movie screen, dangers like opening car doors and oh, those crazed cabbies, Premium Rush offers the most danger-fueled fun on a bike you can have in Manhattan. The music pumps as Wilee is chased around the city by good guys and bad guys alike. Michael Shannon is masterful as the villain and manages to roll fiercely through this riotous road show.

Bottom line: If you like fast-paced chase sequences and amazing stunts, Premium Rush will have your pulse racing. Stay through the credits to see the clip of a busted, bleeding Joseph Gordon-Levitt after his own real bike accident during shooting. Now that’s dedication!

Photo credit: Sony Pictures