Premium Rush Blu-ray Review
There are 1,500 bike messengers in New York City. They spend their work hours on their bikes, dodging cabs and pedestrians without the aid of brakes. Office work isn’t for them, because there is no exhilaration to be found in fixing a jammed copy machine or reorganizing sticky notes on your desk. One of them is Wilee (Joseph Gordon-Levitt). He, like the rest in his field, is fast. He must know precisely when the lights will change, where the sidewalks end, what time construction in Midtown starts. One false move could mean a trip to the hospital for the jaywalker or the morgue for himself. (A production injury left Gordon-Levitt with 30+ stitches and a story to tell at press junkets and on talk shows.)
Wilee is tasked to deliver an envelope by fellow messenger/ex-girlfriend Vanessa’s (Dania Ramirez, X-MEN: THE LAST STAND) roommate, Nina (reality TV star Jamie Chung), who knows the ticket inside could mean certain freedom for her young son. After the envelope is Bobby Monday (Michael Shannon, with a perfectly insane laugh), an NYPD officer who can clear his gambling debt with the ticket, estimated to be worth $50,000. What follows is a non-stop chase through Manhattan. Without the energy, PREMIUM RUSH would be just a simple chase movie. Under the slick direction of David Koepp (writer of everything from CARLITO’S WAY and PANIC ROOM to WAR OF THE WORLDS and THE TAKING OF PELHAM 1 2 3; director of the Stephen King adaptation SECRET WINDOW and the 2008 Ricky Gervais vehicle GHOST TOWN), it is a stylish and full-on thrill for its 91 minutes.
PREMIUM RUSH is in constant motion, with smooth and well-staged chases through street lanes, parks, back alleys, and narrow paths. It peddles the story and action along, with only occasional pauses to go back earlier in the day and let the viewer in on who these characters are and what exactly is at stake.
The cast, too, is in terrific form. The two standouts, no shock, are Gordon-Levitt and Shannon. Gordon-Levitt is given something a little new to try out, and he seems as comfortable in bike shorts here as he did a sweater vest in (500) DAYS OF SUMMER or a police uniform in THE DARK KNIGHT RISES; Shannon, meanwhile, appears to be having a fantastic time playing the sleazy heel.
Promotional material featuring a man on a ten-speed and the tagline “Ride Like Hell” might not scream “action” like, say, the toys on the posters for THE AVENGERS or the scowls plastered on THE EXPENDABLES 2’s banners. But PREMIUM RUSH is still a strong action flick—light on sensible plot or character development, but loaded with exciting sequences that should keep anyone watching screeching, “Move! Faster! Go! Go!” PREMIUM RUSH won’t sell a fraction of the tickets that THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN or TDKR will, but that doesn’t mean it’s worth skipping. Turns out, the bike messenger movie is one of the most fun actioners of 2012.
Video: 2.40:1 in 1080p with MPEG-4 AVC codec. PREMIUM RUSH looks absolutely stellar in high-definition. From the bright, busy New York City streets to the dark interiors, the transfer captures every tone, color and texture with incredible detail. The fast-moving chase sequences also allow the eye to catch full detail in vehicles, street/detour signs and building facades.
Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio; French DTS-HD Master Audio; Portuguese DTS-HD Master Audio; Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1. The audio transfer is also very strong, allowing the viewer to hear and feel all of the action, with car horns, crashes, tire screeches, and city noise all coming through nicely. The soundtrack is also effective, namely Dave Sardy’s score and The Who’s “Baba O’Riley.”
The Starting Line (9:30): This featurette uses clips, behind-the-scenes footage and interviews (with Joseph Gordon-Levitt, director David Koepp and more) to provide a basic overview of the production.
Behind the Wheels (12:51) focuses on the chase sequences with the bikes and how they were accomplished.