Please note that doesn’t mean it’s the best of the lot — it’s just that its zippy pleasures arrive with no strings, messages or ulterior motives attached. This is a well-made action film, albeit a disposable one — no more, no less.
In what may be the only film centered on the world of bike messengers since the 1986 flat Kevin Bacon vehicle known as Quicksilver, JGL’s character puts the pedal to the asphalt as he has to deliver a package from a Manhattan college to Chinatown ASAP. The task would be simple if he weren’t being pursued by a corrupt NYPD detective with a gambling debt who wishes to intercept it for reasons to which we are not immediately privy.
That the bad cop is played by reliable live wire Michael Shannon (Take Shelter) is the movie’s greatest gift. He does his usual exposed-nerve act, but here with a sense of humor he rarely gets to demonstrate. As he’s wont to do, Shannon steals the show.
About every three to four years, David Koepp takes a break from churning out scripts for blockbusters helmed by A-listers (Spider-Man, Jurassic Park, Angels & Demons) and plays director himself. Premium Rush is one of those times, and it feels larger than his past efforts, which tend toward the quiet, intimate and comparatively small-scale, i.e. 2008’s well-meaning but overbearing Ghost Town.
Koepp choreographs the bicycle scenes as ballets of fluidity, and they’re so exciting to watch, they don’t need the addition of gimmicky, Google Maps-type graphics that he overlays. You may not remember much about the movie the next day, but you’ll remember just enough to know you enjoyed it at the time. —Rod Lott