“Premium Rush” moves like “The French Connection” on two wheels with no brakes from start to finish. It's the Tour de France adapted to the mean streets of New York and it's a thrill ride worth taking, especially for fans of extreme cycling — as in extremely dangerous.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt (“50/50, “The Dark Knight Rises”) gives us a likable young daredevil to root for as Wilee (nickname: the Coyote Man), the best of the Big Apple's agile, steel-nerved bicycle messengers, dodging and darting around speeding cars, combative cabbies and eight million peeved pedestrians on his “fixie” — a super lightweight, single-gear bike with no brakes — doggedly committed to delivering urgent packages and messages to their designated recipients in a minimum amount of time. Nothing stays this courier from the swift completion of his appointed rounds.
Nothing, that is, except maybe a dirty cop with impulse control issues.
Enter Michael Shannon (“Boardwalk Empire,” “Take Shelter,” “Revolutionary Road”) intense and electric as ever as Bobby Monday, a police detective who's desperate to get his hands on an envelope Wilee's been assigned to deliver to a certain party by 7 p.m. It's a package that could rid gambling addict Bobby of a debt owed to some very rough players who run a high-stakes Pai Gow game in Chinatown.
When Bobby first confronts Wilee, claiming the sender wants the envelope back, Wilee responds: “Yeah, the thing is, once it goes in the bag, it's gotta stay in the bag.”
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Shannon, Dania Ramirez, Jamie Chung, Wole Parks.
(Some violence, intense action sequences and language)