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Dodging speeding cars, crazed cabbies, open doors, and eight million cranky pedestrians is all in a day's work for Wilee, 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 smear on the pavement every time they head into traffic.
For more about Premium Rush and the Premium Rush Blu-ray release, see Premium Rush Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on December 14, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Shannon, Jamie Chung, Dania Ramirez, Aasif Mandvi, Lauren Ashley Carter
Director: David Koepp
» See full cast & crew
Premium Rush Blu-ray Review
Rush to add this exciting film to your Blu-ray collection.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, December 14, 2012
Can't stop. Don't want to, either.
Premium Rush taps a largely underdeveloped cinema market: the bicycle-centric Action film. There's Premium Rush, the silly-fun 1980s flick BMX Bandits, and, um, not too many more, that's for sure. There are probably one or two other semi-popular ones out there that aren't jogging the old memory, but clearly this sub genre is largely unexplored, particularly compared to the deluge of shoot-em-up and car chase Action flicks that pop up in theaters every Friday and on Blu-ray each Tuesday. Premium Rush is the gold standard of this little and interesting grouping, a movie that's fast and slick, very well-realized even through its rather simple plot, and expertly assembled at what is often high speeds through dense New York city streets. In addition to being well-made, it's also novel, which scores it some points on principle, but it's cinema novelty done with care and precision. The end result is one of the more exciting movies of the year that should settle in near the top every cinephiles' must-see list.
Wilee (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, 50/50) is a former law student and a current New York bicycle courier, one of about 1,500 in the city. He's incredibly fit and quite proficient at this job; he has an uncanny knack for zipping through traffic and other obstacles that would throw less experienced riders at significantly lower speeds, and he does so on a bike with one fixed gear and no brakes. He prides himself in getting the delivery to its destination on-time, and for him, it's as much about the thrill of the challenge as it is the modest wages he earns. When he receives a small envelope with explicit instructions for its delivery, he believes he's about to set off on just another run-of-the-mill run. However, he's soon approached by a man in a suit (Michael Shannon, Take Shelter) who demands the envelope. Wilee isn't giving it up, however, and he soon finds himself pursued by a crazed individual who will stop at nothing to retrieve the seemingly innocent parcel.
Premium Rush begins by hinting at a "real time" sort of venture -- like Nick of Time and Running Time -- in which the action occurs in the same amount of time it takes the movie to get from start to finish. Unfortunately the movie doesn't go that route, though most of the action is confined to a ninety-minute window interrupted only by a few flashbacks. It still takes on the feel of a real time venture, however, as rush hour city streets become dizzying obstacle courses for a trio of bicycle couriers, a desperate dirty cop, and a handful of other secondary players as they engage in a high-speed battle of wits, chicken, bicycle skill, and physical stamina to reach their destinations, protect that with which they've been entrusted, or in Michael Shannon's characters case, secure what he wants that the couriers have. It's a fascinating and extremely fast-paced movie that will excite adrenaline junkies and even work up into a frenzy those who are apt to break a sweat just watching the intensive action from the comfort of the cinema or home theater couch.
Not only does Premium Rush pass the "adrenaline excitement" test, it also aces the technical requirements of a good film. Director David Koepp (Secret Window) does a fantastic job of vividly portraying the high-speed excitement and always-dangerous world of bicycling through busy streets, never mind on a time crunch and with angry pursuers behind every pedal, turn of the spoke, and revolution of the chain. The film shows some great POV photography as well as plenty of dizzying street-level and birds-eye views of the action as it unfolds around New York. The film does slow down to cement its drama and greater story arc, but even scenes in which Wilee finds himself off the bike, sneaking around the police station and avoiding the cops on his tail make for heart-pounding entertainment. The film is very well acted, too; Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays his part effortlessly and convinces viewers from the outset of his skill and background as an expert bicyclist. Michael Shannon is expectedly superb as a downtrodden cop with nothing to lose but a lot to gain in his pursuit. The film is rounded into shape by strong supporting performances from Dania Ramirez and Wolé Parks as Wilee's love interest and competitor, respectively, both of whom work for the same delivery company and ultimately find themselves entangled in the rush hour, high-speed pursuit.
Premium Rush Blu-ray, Video Quality
"New movie, Sony release" pretty much says it all. Premium Rush is another looker from what is arguably Blu-ray's best studio. The 1080p high definition transfer is pretty much flawless all around. The first thing viewers will likely notice is the striking color palette. The image offers nearly every shade imaginable throughout the film, from yellow cabs and busses and bright red shirts, from urban grays to multicolored signage. Every shade is bright, bold, and accurate, and the movie bursts with colorful but natural energy in every shot. Details are great, too. The photography reveals naturally detailed flesh tones, well-textured clothes, concrete and brick surfaces, the wear and tear on Wilee's bike, and all sorts of elements with a natural clarity and sharpness viewers expect of a top-tier transfer. Extremely light grain remains over the image throughout. Flesh tones are accurate, and blacks are naturally deep and pure. No banding, blocking, or other malformations are noted. Again, another wonderful effort from Sony.
Premium Rush Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Premium Rush features a premium DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless soundtrack. This sound presentation puts listeners right in the middle of the action. Bicycles and traffic zip through the soundstage; directional effects flow naturally, and the track is apt to make good use of each speaker in the pursuit of placing specific effects in just the right location around the listening area. City ambience is consistent and nicely enveloping. The background din is only exaggerated when necessary, however, allowing dialogue and critical sound effects to play naturally and evenly. Interior locales also offer smooth, accurate ambiance. Whether footfalls and light chatter in the law school building in which Wilee receives the letter or the slightly more active courier offices, the track seamlessly brings even the most nuanced sound effects to vivid life. Music enjoys a fine natural presence. It's loud but not exaggerated, evenly spaced and accurate throughout the entire range and listening area both. Dialogue is balanced and remains firmly entrenched in the middle. This is an all-around high-class soundtrack from Sony.
Premium Rush Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Premium Rush contains only two short featurettes. A UV Digital Copy download voucher is also included.
Premium Rush Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Premium Rush is an exciting, quickly-paced adrenaline flick with a good but admittedly somewhat generic core story pushing the action forward. Nevertheless, the movie succeeds thanks to its novelty, slick direction, fast action, and quality acting. It's not the best film of 2012, but it's one of the most unique and purely entertaining of the year. Sony's Blu-ray release of Premium Rush features outstanding video and audio. Unfortunately, a rather slim supplemental section drags down the overall score. Nevertheless, this release comes highly recommended.
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Premium Rush Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Premium Rush Blu-ray - October 14, 2012
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment's Premium Rush starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt (The Dark Knight Rises) is coming to Blu-ray. Directed by David Koepp, the action thriller co-stars Michael Shannon (Pearl Harbor), Jamie Chung (Sucker Punch), Dania Ramirez (X-Men: The ...
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