Premium Rush – Review

© Sony Pictures

Premium Rush is the bike messenger of films: gets to the point quickly and directly and disappears back into anonymity. There may be a few bumps and detours, and it’s not the most efficient method of delivery, but it finds its way with effectiveness, easily does its job, and is just as easily forgotten.

A throwback in many ways, Premium Rush is an action film with ordinary people, a chase movie without motors and a salute to older technology and those who still appreciate it. Director David Koepp does a good job of capturing the mentality and subculture of the bike messengers, in some ways paralleling the camaraderie displayed in the film Hackers, and equips his lead character with an encyclopedic knowledge of New York City and its consequences creating an effect similar to the fight scenes in Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes movies, only not as overly used.

© Sony Pictures

Jospeh Gordon Levitt does a believable job both physically and emotionally as a driven, principled bike messenger. The real scene stealer is Michael Shannon with a delightfully insane performance that stops just short of literally chewing the scenery. As fun as Shannon is to watch the stakes of the film never quite solidify. Despite his viciousness, he’s too often made to look silly to become the heavy his performance seems to demand in order to develop a fun bad guy into a horrifying one. But then, this isn’t that kind of movie.

Instead, Premium Rush satisfies itself by being a quick, jaunty interlude before moving onto more important matters – the kind of things that absolutely, positively have to be done as soon as possible. Between now and then, here’s a little movie about bike messengers.[subscribe2]

About Jess Kroll

Jess Kroll
Jess Kroll is a novelist and university professor born in Honolulu, Hawaii, and based in Daegu, South Korea. He has been writing film reviews since 2004 and has been exclusive to Pop Mythology since 2012. His novels include 'Land of Smiles' from Monsoon Books and young adult series 'The One' and 'Werewolf Council' from Epic Press.


  1. KristinQuackenbush

    Wow!  I think they were filming this on the Columbia campus while I was a student at Teachers College!  I remember hearing rumors that Joseph Gordon Levitt was around campus…

    • Daniel Jun Kim

      KristinQuackenbush Really? That’s so neat! That makes me want to see the movie more now. Jess Kroll, did the movie have scenes on the Columbia Uni campus?

    • KristinQuackenbush

      Daniel Jun Kim KristinQuackenbush Jess Kroll 
      The trailer definitely had some clips…I’m pretty sure the big glass building where he’s talking to the girl is Lerner Hall on campus, and then when the guy is asking him for the envelope it looks like they’re right in the middle of the main campus.

    • Daniel Jun Kim

      KristinQuackenbush Daniel Jun Kim Jess Kroll Yeah, Kristin, you’re right! I’ve only been on the Columbia campus once and that was long ago. It’s a nice campus. *Sigh* I miss NYC!

    • Jess Kroll

      Daniel Jun KimYeah, they sure did include the campus. One scene took place there but it was shown multiple times.
      KristinQuackenbush I was wondering where that building was. The girl’s name is Jamie Chung, and she’s awesome (although maybe not the best actress).

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