Premium Rush

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Premium Rush
Premium rush film.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byDavid Koepp
Produced byGavin Polone
Written byDavid Koepp
John Kamps
StarringJoseph Gordon-Levitt
Michael Shannon
Dania Ramirez
Jamie Chung
Music byDavid Sardy[1]
CinematographyMitchell Amundsen[2]
Edited byDerek Ambrosi[3]
Jill Savitt[3]
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • August 24, 2012 (2012-08-24)[4]
Running time
92 minutes[5]
CountryUnited States
Budget$35 million[6]
Box office$31.1 million[7]

Premium Rush is a 2012 American thriller film directed by David Koepp and written by Koepp and John Kamps. The film stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Shannon, Dania Ramirez and Jamie Chung. It follows a bicycle messenger chased around New York City by a corrupt police officer who wants an envelope the messenger has. It was released on August 24, 2012 by Columbia Pictures.


The film has a nonlinear narrative. It contains numerous flash-forward and flashback cuts, indicated with an overlaid digital clock showing the time advancing rapidly forward/backward to the next scene. In chronological order:

Wilee (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a disenchanted Columbia Law School graduate who has put off taking the bar exam because he could not bear to enter the humdrum life of the legal profession. He finds meaning and purpose in being employed as a thrill-seeking New York City bicycle messenger despite arguments with his girlfriend and fellow bike messenger, Vanessa (Dania Ramirez), who insists that he should make something of himself.

Vanessa's roommate, Nima (Jamie Chung), has asked Vanessa to move out for a personal reason she doesn't disclose. Vanessa is in the process of packing her few belongings. Nima delivers $50,000 that she has saved for two years to Mr. Leung (Henry O), a Chinese hawaladar, in exchange for a ticket that she must deliver to Sister Chen, buying a place for Nima's son and mother in one of Sister Chen's ships on which gangs smuggle people from China to the United States.

Mr. Lin, a local loan shark, has learned of the ticket and that whoever returns it to Mr. Leung can collect Nima's money. He approaches Robert "Bobby" Monday (Michael Shannon), a gambling-addicted NYPD detective who owes him money, offering to clear Monday's debt if Monday gets him the ticket. Monday begins searching for Nima, who decides to hire Wilee to deliver the envelope with the ticket to Sister Chen by 7 pm after Nima is told by Leung that anyone who knew she was visiting him is a loose end which could cause her to be in possible danger if she tries to deliver the ticket herself. Wilee and Nima conduct their transaction at the college where Nima is a student. After Wilee leaves, Nima is confronted by Monday, who sees the courier receipt Wilee gave her. He is able to steal the receipt from Nima. After Monday leaves, Vanessa finds Nima, and learns the contents of the envelope.

Monday catches up with Wilee before he leaves the college campus, stating that he is a college official, that Nima had no authority to handle the contents of the envelope on the college's behalf, and that he would like the envelope back, with the receipt Wilee gave to Nima in his hands. Wilee refuses. He is able to escape, with Monday in pursuit. Wilee heads to the police station to report Monday, only to find out he's a police detective. Wilee hides in the bathroom, where he opens the envelope and finds the ticket.

After he escapes the station, Wilee angrily tells his dispatcher, Raj (Aasif Mandvi), that he is returning the package so that someone else can drop it off. Returning to Nima's college, Wilee leaves the envelope, which is picked up by his rival, Manny (Wolé Parks). Before Manny picks it up, however, Monday calls the dispatch to redirect the delivery to a different address.

As he is about to leave the college after returning the envelope, Wilee runs into Nima. He confronts her about the ticket, and she reveals the truth. Guilt-ridden, Wilee tries to catch up to Manny, who refuses to give Wilee his drop. They race each other and in the process, are chased by a bike cop who had earlier tried to arrest Wilee. As they approach Monday's location, the bike cop tackles Manny off his bike and arrests him. Vanessa, who learns of Monday's trickery and races over to warn Manny, appears, grabs Manny's bag and gives it to Wilee.

As they are about to escape, Wilee is hit by an oncoming taxi. He falls to the ground fracturing some ribs in the process. He is put in an ambulance with Monday, while his damaged bike is taken to an impound lot, with the envelope hidden in the handlebars. Monday tortures Wilee by pressing on his injured ribs, and Wilee offers to give Monday the envelope in exchange for his bike.

Wilee tells Monday that the envelope is in Manny's bag, and Monday leaves to search it, while Wilee meets with Vanessa in the impound lot. She gives him the envelope, which she had retrieved, and he escapes on a stolen bike. Monday, realizing Wilee has tricked him, pursues Wilee to Sister Chen's place. Meanwhile, Nima calls Mr. Leung for help. He deploys his enforcer, the Sudoku Man, to help her.

As Wilee reaches Chinatown, he is confronted by Monday, who is threatening to kill him. However, Vanessa arrives with a flash mob of messengers, dispatched by Raj, who delay Monday by hitting him numerous times, giving Wilee time to deliver the ticket to Sister Chen just before the stroke of 7 pm. She calls the captain of her ship and tells him to allow Nima's family aboard. Outside, Monday is confronted by the Sudoku Man, who shoots Monday in the back of his head with a silenced pistol. Dying and feeling faint, Monday tries to get in his car saying that he just wants to think for a second, but dies before he can do so. Nima's mother calls her and confirms that she and Nima's son have gotten on the ship. Nima meets with Wilee and Vanessa while they are finally reunited.



Film crew preparing to shoot a scene at the intersection of 5th Avenue and West 34th Street (beneath the Empire State Building)

Principal photography began in mid-July 2010 and ended by early September 2010 in New York City.[8] Gordon-Levitt was injured during filming on August 1, 2010, when he rode into the back of a taxi. The impact sent Gordon-Levitt flying into the rear windshield of the taxi, slashing his arm which required 31 stitches.[9] A shot of the aftermath of that accident is included as a scene during the credits of the film. Locations included Columbia University, Central Park and Canal Street.[2]


In 2011, a lawsuit was filed in the Northern District of California by author Joe Quirk, claiming Premium Rush was based on his 1998 novel The Ultimate Rush. The suit claimed many plot, character name, and scene similarities to Quirk's original novel.[10] In July 2012, U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg declined to dismiss Quirk's claim that Sony Pictures, parent company of Columbia Pictures, had breached an implied contract. The production company Pariah, director David Koepp and co-screenwriter John Kamps are also named in the suit.[11] On April 2, 2013, Judge Seeborg dismissed this case, finding that the two works were not substantially similar.[12]


Box office[edit]

In its opening weekend, Premium Rush opened at #8, grossing $6 million.[7][13] The film grossed $20.3 million in North America while grossing $10.8 million in foreign markets, totaling a worldwide income of $31.1 million, against a production budget of $35 million.[7]

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 74% based on 158 reviews, with an average rating of 6.3/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "It's built out of familiar parts, but no matter how formulaic Premium Rush's storyline might seem, it's elevated by high-octane action and enjoyable performances."[14] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 66 out of 100, based on 36 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[15]

Chicago Sun-Times critic Roger Ebert awarded the film 3.5 stars out of 4, calling it a "breakneck chase movie".[16]


  1. ^ "David Sardy scoring 'Premium Rush'". Film Music Reporter. January 27, 2011. Archived from the original on August 20, 2012. Retrieved August 17, 2012.
  2. ^ a b Neumaier, Joe (August 20, 2012). "Shooting action thriller 'Premium Rush' on Manhattan streets was a unique challenge for director David Koepp". Daily News. New York City. Archived from the original on August 20, 2012. Retrieved August 20, 2012.
  3. ^ a b "Premium Rush (2012): Production Credits". All Media Guide / Baseline via The New York Times. Retrieved August 20, 2012.
  4. ^ Franklin, Garth (August 13, 2010). "Release Changes: August 13th 2010". Dark Horizon. Dark Futures Pty. Limited. Retrieved August 16, 2010.
  5. ^ "Premium Rush (12A)". British Board of Film Classification. September 9, 2011. Retrieved September 9, 2011.
  6. ^ Amy Kaufman (August 23, 2012). "'Expendables 2' could be No. 1 again on slow box office weekend". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 10, 2012.
  7. ^ a b c "Premium Rush at BOM". BOM.
  8. ^ Siegel, Tatiana (June 8, 2010). "Thesp's in a 'Rush' for Columbia". Variety. Reed Business Information. Archived from the original on August 20, 2012. Retrieved August 8, 2010.
  9. ^ "Actor Thrown Through Taxi Windscreen". The Age. Melbourne, Australia. August 5, 2010. Archived from the original on August 8, 2010. Retrieved August 8, 2010.
  10. ^ Stevens, Elizabeth Lesly (August 21, 2011). "A Big Hollywood Movie Is Coming, and a Novelist Cries Foul". The New York Times. p. A21A. Retrieved August 17, 2012.
  11. ^ Gardner, Eriq (July 6, 2012). "Judge Rejects Sony Attempt to Kill 'Premium Rush' Lawsuit". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on August 20, 2012. Retrieved August 20, 2012.
  12. ^ Gardner, Eriq, "Sony Pictures Wins 'Premium Rush' Theft Lawsuit", The Hollywood Reporter, April 3, 2013
  13. ^ Subers, Ray (2012-08-26). "Weekend Report: 'Expendables' Repeats on Awful Late-August Weekend". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2012-09-27.
  14. ^ "Premium Rush (2012)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved February 15, 2018.
  15. ^ "Premium Rush Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2012-08-27.
  16. ^ Ebert, Roger (2012-08-22). "Premium Rush". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2012-09-27.

External links[edit]