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Premium Rush

MPAA Rating: PG-13-Rating (MPAA) for some violence, intense action sequences and language.

Reviewed by: Russell Emory

Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Action Thriller Drama
1 hr. 31 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
August 24, 2012 (wide—2,100+ theaters)
DVD: December 21, 2012
Copyright, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Copyright, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Copyright, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Copyright, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Copyright, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures

dishonest policeman / dirty cop



Featuring: Joseph Gordon-LevittWilee
Michael ShannonBobby
Jamie Chung … Nima
Dania Ramirez … Vanessa
Aaron Tveit … Kyle
Aasif Mandvi … Raj
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Director: David Koepp
Producer: Pariah
Gavin Polone … producer
Mari-Jo Winkler … executive producer
Distributor: Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures

“Ride like hell”

“Premium Rush” is at its core a chase movie, however, unlike many chase films, this one involves bikes. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Wilee, pronounced like the famous Warner Brothers cartoon coyote, and the joke is used throughout. Wilee is believed to have a death wish, being as though he rides a bike with no brakes and only one gear. Based on the reactions of many of the messenger characters in the movie, this is highly unusual and either is respected or considered foolish.

Joining Wilee on this ride is on-again off-again girlfriend Vanessa (Dania Ramierez—‘Entourage,’ ‘Heroes’), Rival messenger Manny (Wole’ Parks), Vanessa’s roommate and Wilee’s former classmate Nima (Jamie Chung—‘Grown Ups,’ ‘Hangover II’), Wilee’s boss Raj (The Daily Show’s Aasif Mandvi), and Detective Bobby Monday (Michael Shannon—‘Boardwalk Empire’). The main idea of the movie is that Wilee must get an envelope given to him by Nima from point A to point B; however, many obstacles arise along the way in the form of Detective Bobby Monday.

Wilee is delivering a package for Nima across town. He encounters Monday, who is also seeking the ticket to settle a gambling debt. Monday and Wilee literally begin to play a game of cat and mouse through the streets of New York City over the course of ninety minutes. Along the way, through flashbacks and side dealings with secondary characters, Wilee begins to put together the puzzle of what is in the envelope and what it means to others.

Being a chase movie, there is a lot of violence and action. Most of the stunts are performed by the actors. Gordon-Levitt received 31 stitches as a result of a stunt accident during filming. Some of the action may be disturbing, as there are simulations of cars hitting or, in one case, running over people. This would be disturbing for many, but the idea is that, in these situations, Wilee is determining which route to take, and the simulations are him going over his best case scenario.

If I were scoring the sex in the movie on a scale of one to ten, this would be a three. There are a few comments, but they really don’t push the limits of PG-13. The language, however, is a little much; there is an f-word, almost 50 utterances of the s-word, and 17 occurrences of what I will call religious profanities (GD, JC, Lord’s name as explicative). There are also 2 obscene gestures between characters and 14 occurrences of mild profanity (D, H, A).

There is not much spiritually in this movie. One Chinese character tells the other that Buddha be with them, but it was almost like someone telling someone “may the force be with you.” It was a blink, and you could miss it in a moment. There is also a scene where simple ideas of Buddhism and Taoism are debated, basically a small three line debate about determinism and cause and effect. There is no mention of God or Jesus, outside of profanities, and that may be an issue for many.

Wilee is intent on doing what is right. He is convicted by his conscience when he discusses with Nima, later in the movie, what exactly is in the envelope that she gave him. When he learns what the content of the envelope, and its purposes, are he does whatever he can to keep Det. Monday from getting them. I would tell you what is in the envelope and its purpose, but that is one of the little plot twists in the movie.

Overall, “Premium Rush” is a decent film. Maybe a more appealing film to bicycle enthusiasts, but I left the theater wanting a little more, partly because most of the action movies this summer have been on the level of over-the-top to epic (“The Avengers,” “The Dark Knight Rises,” “Expendables 2,” and “The Bourne Legacy”). The other reason is that the plot is very simple. The flashbacks help provide the backstory for the characters, and it was a nice touch by David Koepp the director. “Premium Rush” is a simple action movie, but it didn’t thrill me like the previews promised. I guess I have been spoiled.

I’m not going to say “go see this movie” or “don’t go see this movie.” I have simply presented the content and leave the decision in your (the reader’s) discretion. I will note that Michael Shannon has a big role in next summer’s “Man of Steel”; so many Superman enthusiasts may want to see this actor before that film.

Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Mild

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive—This movie was much better then I expected it to be. It was certainly entertaining and kept you wondering what was going to happen. And, of course, the filming kept you involved with them on the bikes. I don’t like cursing, and there wasn’t that much, actually. It had some violence, but short spurts, and no sex or nudity. I appreciated that they didn’t exploit the women bike riders, too much; Hollywood could have been way worse than they were on this movie. It’s a good flick!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
Samantha, age 37 (USA)
Neutral—I might have given this movie a “positive” rating if it had been rated an R film. It worked very well as a thriller—good action film that kept my interest throughout. I also enjoyed the New York City setting, and I understand the thrill of riding a bike. However, with all the violence and profanity in this movie, it is simply not worthy of a PG-13 rating. I also wish it had not glorified recklessness. Other than the interesting New York setting, there is also the very positive theme of fulfilling one’s promise and doing the right thing, even under terrible duress.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
Halyna Barannik, age 66 (USA)
Negative—This is not a movie for a Christian. It has profanity from start to finish. Very graphic killings. No positive moral.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
Fabiola, age 36 (USA)

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