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Premium Rush Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/16-bit), English Audio Descriptive Service Dolby Digital 5.1, French & Portuguese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/16-bit), Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Subtitles: English SDH, Chinese (Mandarin Traditional), French, Indonesian, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish
  • Subtitles Color: White
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Digital Copies: UltraViolet
  • Run Time: 91 Mins.
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • Blu-ray Release Date: December 21, 2012
  • List Price: $35.99

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:3.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:3.5/5]

Premium Rush, one of the newest action vehicles for latest Hollywood golden boy Joseph Gordon-Levitt, boils the action-thriller down to its bare essentials. It is a chase-film with villains and heroes that skim the surfaces of every good guy/bad guy caricature we’ve seen before in these sorts of movies, but the adrenalin fueled romp from co-writer/director David Koepp (Spider-Man; Mission: Impossible) and co-writer John Kamps (Ghost Town) gives us enough twists, eye candy and suspense to keep Premium Rush from falling into B-Movie terrain. The strong performances from the cast, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Michael Shannon, in particular, also provide the film with an added sense of legitimacy.

The basic premise of Premium Rush is adrenalin junkie Wilee (Gordon-Levitt), law school dropout turned Manhattan bike messenger, is one of the best in the city at getting packages delivered on time in the city’s congested streets. His tool: a beat up bike, no brakes, no gears; just ride like hell, and use his preternatural ability to read the automobile and pedestrian traffic. On this particular day, he gets a call for a pickup of an envelope that has a dirty NYPD detective and a NYPD bicycle cop chasing him through the streets of Manhattan.

As the story unfolds, through a non-linear, flashback method that keeps things interesting, we find that the envelope was from his on-again/off-again girlfriend – who also happens to be a bike messenger – Vanessa’s (Dania Ramirez) roommate Nima (Jamie Chung). It holds a receipt from the Chinese mafia, and is for a very large sum of money, which the corrupt cop, Det. Monday (Shannon), desperately needs to get his hands on to pay off a debt he owes to the Chinese mob. I won’t give anymore of the story away, but things get only little bit more complicated than that.

As a native New Yorker, I must admit that an action thriller based on the bike messengers in Manhattan who are both a menace and a necessity is, to me, inherently intriguing. The film effectively makes their story interesting with death defying races through the miserable daytime traffic of the tiny, congested island, plausible conspiracies involving organized crime, and even a side love story of sorts that will leave you saying, “only in New York.” Mostly, the kinetic energy of the storytelling keeps it interesting. An almost Tarantino-esque disregard for linearity that mixes up beginnings, endings and middles to keep us on our toes makes this film far more interesting than it has a right to be. Kudos must also go to Shannon for his portrayal of the unhinged cop, something he seems good at, even in his role on Boardwalk Empire.

Video Quality

[Rating:5/5]

Premium Rush was shot on the Super 35mm format using an array of Arriflex and Panavision Panaflex cameras with Kodak medium to fast speed Vision3 250D 5207 and Vision3 500T 5219 film stocks. This transfer from Sony, encoded in AVC/MPEG-4 at 1080p, looks spot-on given the source and is as clean and crisp as to be expected for such a recent film as well. It has inky blacks, lots of great detail, and strong contrast. I can’t spot any issues with the compression nor do I see any video noise of any sort. Grain is very finely layered over the image and natural in appearance.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

Audio is an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/16-bit) track that, despite its 16-bit resolution, is quite realistic, natural, and dynamic. The mix’s balance is engulfing, surrounding one in the din and clatter of Manhattan’s busy city streets whilst seamlessly blending in the rhythms of the musical score. Dialogue is full and clear as well and there is a good bit of bottom end to provide some solidity.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2/5]

There isn’t much on offer here beyond these two brief production featurettes. Neither of them is required viewing, since they offer little informational value.

  • The Starting Line (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:09:30)
  • Behind the Wheels (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:12:51)

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

Joseph Gordon-Levitt continues to prove his marketability as an action star with this role as an adrenalin-addicted bike messenger caught in a dangerous situation, with Premium Rush. The film is a fast-paced, turn your brain off, popcorn flick that works due to the great action sequences and strong performances. Give it a try.

Additional Screen Captures

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Purchase Premium Rush on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Premium Rush

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Purchase Premium Rush on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Premium Rush

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:3.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2/5]


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