HTS Moderator , Reviewer
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=10309[/img]Title: Premium Rush
Starring: Joseph Godon-Levitt, Dania Ramirez, Sean Kennedy
Directed by: David Koepp
Written by: David Koepp
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 AVC
Main Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD MA
Studio: Sony Pictures
Runtime: 91 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: December 21st, 2012
HTS Overall Score:82
“Premium Rush” was a movie that slid under the radar a bit during the summer of the massive budgeted super hero films like “The Avengers” and “The Dark Knight Rises.” I meant to go see it at the theaters, but it didn’t seem like it was anything to get wildly excited about. I mean, how exciting can an action chase film be on a bike? There really aren’t that many films that center around bicycling in general, let alone an "action" oriented film. However, I’m glad I was finally able to check it out. “Premium Rush” delivered on its title - it was most definitely a rush.
The film starts with our hero, Wilee(Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a New York City bike courier, picking up a seemingly run-of-the-mill envelope from a local college. Almost immediately after accepting the package, Wilee is approached by a man (Michael Shannon) claiming to be from campus security, demanding the envelope back. Now, the crux of the matter is that Wilee works for a security courier service and prides himself on the fact that no one gets in the way of his deliveries. Unbeknownst to Wilee, snubbing this mysterious man sets off a chain reaction where he gets chased all over town by a crazed maniac who will do whatever it takes to get ahold of this mysterious package. At first, Wilee thinks it’s just some looney that’s after the package, but it soon becomes evident that this guy is a corrupt cop, and what he’s after is certainly more important than your average parcel. Clearly, Wilee can’t go to the police and report him; all he can do is try and drop the package off at its starting point and wash his hands of the whole deal.
After ditching the package, Wilee finds out that it is something more important than his pride or his safety: a person’s life is on the line. As a matter of honor, Wilee regains his resolve to deliver the package, undamaged, by the allotted time, only to find out that it’s been taken by another courier. Careening through traffic at breakneck speeds, he has to enlist the help of his girlfriend Vanessa (Ramirez) to help him hunt down the envelope, escape this corrupt cop, and get to the destination on time.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=10312[/img]“Premium Rush” is a simple movie at heart; the story is straight forward and to the point: get from point A to point B while escaping the crazed lunatic chasing you. Doesn’t seem like much, but simple doesn’t always mean bad, or inept. The film revels in the simple storytelling and regales us with some incredibly intense chase scenes and a look into the danger that a bike courier must face on a daily basis with startling intensity. Wilee is a master of his craft and loves every minute of it. Running on a bike with only one gear and zero brakes, he careens wildly through the New York traffic, running at break neck speeds that a less experienced driver would balk at. The chases are intense, the cinematography is excellent, and it all plays down to one factor: fun. Wilee and his bike courier friends are all totally enthralled and loving every minute of their wildly dangerous lives, and it seeps through from the screen into the audience. By the time I was done with the film, I was on the edge of my seat grinning from ear to ear while Wilee escapes another near death experience with a smile on his face and that little giggle that only Joseph Gordon-Levitt can pull off.
While some of the characters were a tad clichéd, the excellent acting done by our leads was what raised this film above mediocrity. Wilee and Vanessa showed some great chemistry, and I don’t think Joseph Gordon Levitt can actually turn in a bad performance; even in his weakest roles he’s always the star of the show. Who would have thought that the little kid from “3rd Rock from the Sun” would rise so far. Michael Shannon is creepy as the desperate and unscrupulous villain, sleaze just oozing from every pore of his being. While it’s not the most revolutionary film of its era, “Premium Rush” is a non-stop an frenetic ride, giving us action, a little drama, and some very novel approaches to visual aspects of the story-line, giving a us a fun popcorn flick that is sure to please bicyclists everywhere, and give just as much fun to those of us who prefer more than a few inches of rubber and steel framing between ourselves and the pavement.
Rated PG-13 for some violence, intense action sequences and language
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=10313[/img]Being that this is a Sony Pictures new release, it kind of goes without saying that it’s going to be a stunning picture. Sony has been one of the most steady and consistent studios in regards to the treatment of their new releases. “Premium Rush” is given a beautiful 2.35:1 AVC encoded transfer that dazzles the eyes. Colors are rich and beautiful. The color gambit is impressive to behold, they weren’t satisfied with just emphasizing a few primary colors as so many other films do, but seems to take every color in the rainbow and every variation of said colors and saturate the film with every single one. From reds, to blues, to mauve to tope, the colors are vibrant and everywhere. Black levels are excellent and shadows deep and inky without obscuring the view. Artifacts? Yeah right. None to be seen, as far as I can see. There is a nice film-like layer of grain over the whole movie (most recognizable in the cityscape scenes), and the detail is through the roof. I chuckled a few times because you could see upon close investigation that JGL had razor burn on his neck in one scene and in the next it was evident that he’d had a cleaner shave the day of that take. Overall, I’d say this is an EXCELLENT transfer that is just a hair breadth short of perfection.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=10314[/img]Not to be outdone, the audio for “Premium Rush” is just as good as its visual counterpart. The film is a frenetic rush of wheels, cars and swirling traffic; Sony’s 5.1 DTS-HD MA track has more than enough chops to keep up with the visual action. Cars whiz in every direction - in front, behind, to the sides, everywhere at once; the surrounds light up our living rooms with excellent panning and separation. Dialogue is crisp and centered right in the center channel as it should be, the dynamic range is tight and given a decent amount of room to stretch its legs. Crashes come out of nowhere, and the thudding of steel will cause a quick burst of LFE to spread out over the listening area. LFE is tight and clean here, no excessive usage or thundering explosions, but instead seamlessly integrated into the mix adding depth and umph throughout the movie while not being apparent. Balanced is the best word to describe this track; every aspect of good sound craft are apparent here - highs, mids, lows, and all of them integrated so seamlessly and humbly that none of them stand out and try to take the spotlight.
• The Starting Line
• Behind the Wheel
Slipping under the radar, “Premium Rush” surprised me in more ways than one. With a title that isn’t widely marketed as the next greatest blockbuster, I was expecting something a little more subpar in the acting department instead of the very solid performances I was privy to. Instead, what we have here is a film that revels in its simplicity and gave us exactly what the title promised: a rush. The film was a blast from beginning to end and had some pretty incredible bike chases and stunts to keep me entertained for the whole hour and a half. With fantastic video and audio from Sony pictures, it’s hard to go wrong. For those of you who love special features, you’re going to be a bit disappointed, but overall I’d give this two thumbs for a really enjoyable ride.
Buy Premium Rush on Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Watch It