Premium rush is a term Wilee (Joseph Gordon-Levitt)’s employer uses for packages that must be delivered in a big hurry. It’s also probably describes what the rider, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, feels by defying death daily. And you can bet he does, zipping insanely between New York City’s cars, cabs, pedestrians, and beating traffic lights on a fixed gear bike with NO brakes.

“I almost got killed three times in the last 20 minutes,” Wilee says urgently to his boss, Raj (Aasif Mandvi). It’s a badge of honour for someone who’s quit his law studies, and turned his back on a future of being suited up and seated in court every day of his life. But not when his life is really at stake now.

His sense of justice and his need to cheat death are put to the test when Wilee picks up a package that puts his life in danger. Cornered to surrender his little cargo by a corrupt cop (Michael Shannon) who wants to intercept that package, Wilee backpedals furiously and starts an awesome chase that takes him through Sixth Avenue, Central Park and Upper West Side, through the busy streets of NYC.

The people at FedEx may live to deliver, but Wilee’s obviously ready to die to do the same. In desperation he even has to rally the support of his on-off girlfriend (Dania Ramirez) to surmount the many obstructions put along his way, and get the goods to the destination by the stipulated time.

For audiences weaned on racing movies like The Fast and The Furious, as well as its sequels, the pace and threat of director David Koepp’s latest offering seem insufficiently extreme to keep most youths interested. The storyline is a little too predictable, which translates into something forgettable. This is somewhat shocking, as Koepp, who co-wrote the story, is hailed as one of the most commercially successfully screenwriters in America. His writing credits include box-office mega hits such as Jurassic Park, Spider-Man, Angels & Demons and Mission Impossible, in addition to the movies less well known include Stir of Echoes being possibly the most notable of the lot.

Having previously starred in Inception, 50/50 and The Dark Knight Rises, Gordon-Levitt has spread himself well across different genres of Hollywood. He looks perfectly fine in this action show, and it seems his efforts to train up his stamina before filming had paid off.

Michael Shannon as antagonist Bobby Monday holds his own against male lead Gordon-Levitt with his strong performance, as he desperately tries to get this one envelope – to the extent where he would make Gordon-Levitt, and audiences, cringe in pain.

All said, the adrenaline rush is great for couch potatoes and those who want to experience some thrill and exhilaration from their comfortable movie theatre seats.

In addition, the bike stunts in this show are something to look out for. To avoid the people chasing him, Wilee pulls different tricks such as jumping off high walls and jumping onto lorries to escape from getting caught.

Putting the ‘rush’ in Premium Rush must have taken a lot of effort, as the cinematography and momentum of the movie is fast-paced, without sacrificing quality. The soundtrack pumps up the atmosphere with its fast beats.

Premium Rush is a show that bikers will love (although you’ll probably go green with envy because you can’t go THAT fast in Singapore). Still, even if you’ve never been on a 2-wheeler, it’s quite a decent watch for some fast-paced action.

• Movie name: Premium Rush
• Rating: 3.5/5
• Release Date: 27 September 2012
• Runtime: 91 mins
• Language: English
• Censorship Rating: PG 13 (Some Coarse Language)
• Genre: Action
• Director: David Koepp
• Main actors: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Dania Ramirez, Michael Shannon

All photos courtesy of Sony Pictures.