Premium Rush (2012) - Plot Summary Poster



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  • Wilee is one of 1,500 bike couriers in Manhattan who rides on the edge by having a bike with no brakes. On this day, Wilee has a delivery that is so valuable that a corrupt NYC Detective, who needs the money, begins to chase Wilee throughout the city to get it before the envelope is delivered.

  • Among the bike couriers in New York City, no one is more determined and reckless than Wilee, an ex-law student more comfortable on his brakeless bike than in a suit. One day, a Chinese foreign student named Nima arranges for him to deliver a vital envelope across the city. Unfortunately, a crooked cop, Det. Robert Monday, has a desperate need for that envelope himself and won't take "No" for an answer. Now, Wilee finds himself relentlessly pursued by Monday and others in a situation becoming more complicated and dangerous by the minute. Together with his friends and rivals, Wilee must discover the secret of this dangerous delivery and make it through a gauntlet that will require all his cunning, daring and courage to survive.

  • Wilee is a Manhattan bicycle messenger. He is a Columbia law school graduate, who forwent the bar exam, basically putting off his white collar life in favor for being paid, albeit poorly, to do something he loves, namely cycling, although he realizes he cannot do it forever. Although riding his single gear brakeless bicycle is seen as reckless by most, he asserts that he in the past had only gotten into trouble when he hesitated by braking, especially as he has an uncanny ability to quickly scan a busy situation for the best path to cause the least disruption both to himself and to others. He is currently having problems with his girlfriend Vanessa, a fellow bike messenger who solely sees her job as a means to pay for her education and a better life. Wilee and Vanessa are in a close knit profession, which still has its internal rivalries, Wilee's especially with Manny, who also is interested in Vanessa romantically. Late one afternoon, Wilee is given a premium rush job at a local college, which he is surprised to learn is from Vanessa's soon to be ex-roommate Nima, who had to ask Vanessa to leave their joint living situation for a personal reason having nothing to Vanessa herself. Nima, a college student and Chinese national, stresses that the envelope needs to get to its destination in Chinatown no later than 7PM, in ninety minutes time. Quickly thereafter, Wilee is approached by a man, stating he is a college official, who asks for the envelope, saying that Nima had no authority to handle the envelope's contents on behalf of the college. When Wilee refuses to hand over the envelope to the man, a chase ensues, the man going to any length to get the envelope, even seemingly by killing Wilee. Wilee eventually learns the man's identity, which, in combination with an altercation he has with a NYPD bike officer, makes going to the police not an option. As such, Wilee has to do whatever he can to evade the man, the cycle officer, and the police in general, all with the eventual knowledge that the man knows the address of his ultimate destination in Chinatown. But as Wilee goes through mixed emotions about whether his life is worth what he doesn't know is in the envelope, he changes his mind when he does find out what the envelope's contents mean to Nima's life. Eventually, both Vanessa and Manny get involved in different ways, which also places their lives in danger in the process.

  • In Manhattan, a bike messenger picks up an envelope that attracts the interest of a dirty cop, who pursues the cyclist throughout the city.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • Wilee (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a New York City bicycle messenger alongside his ex-girlfriend, Vanessa (Dania Ramirez). Her roommate, Nima (Jamie Chung), delivers $50,000 that she has saved for two years to Mr. Leung (Henry O), a Chinese hawaladar, in exchange for a token (a used movie ticket stub, on which is drawn a smiley face) that she must deliver to a 'snakehead' named Sister Chen, buying a place for Nima's son and mother in one of Sister Chen's ships that smuggle people from China to the United States.

    Mr. Lin, a local loan shark, runs a gambling establishment frequented by Bobby Monday (Michael Shannon), a gambling-addicted NYPD officer who owes him $17,000. Mr. Lin's floor manager, whose sister works for Sister Chen, has learned about the ticket and approaches Monday, offering to clear Monday's debt if Monday gets him the ticket. Monday begins searching for Nima, who notices Monday shadowing her, and decides to hire Wilee to deliver the envelope with the ticket to Sister Chen at 7 P.M. After Wilee leaves, Nima is confronted by Monday, who roughhouses her until her hand crumples the delivery receipt. Monday hears the sound, takes the receipt and learns about Wilee. After Monday leaves, Vanessa finds Nima, and learns the contents of the envelope.

    Monday catches up with Wilee before he leaves the campus where Nima lives and threatens him for the ticket. Wilee escapes and heads to the police station to report Monday, only to find out he's a police officer, and 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. She tells Wilee that she specifically asked Raj for Wilee to deliver the ticket, because Vanessa always said that Wilee was the best at what he did, and could be relied on as a courier. 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 out of 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 were about to escape, however, Wilee is hit by an oncoming taxi. 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 beats Wilee into offering 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. Wilee's stolen bike breaks and he steals the bike belong to the cop who chased him throughout the movie. Meanwhile, Nima calls Mr. Leung for help. He deploys his enforcer, the Sudoku Man, to help her.

    As Wilee reaches the destination, he is confronted by Monday, who is threatening to kill him. However, Vanessa arrives with other messengers, dispatched by Raj, and delays Monday, giving Wilee time to deliver the ticket to Sister Chen, who calls the Captain of her ship and tells him to allow Nima's family inside. Outside, Monday is confronted by the Sudoku Man, who shoots him in the head and leaves. Arriving on the scene, Nima gets a phone call from her mother confirming that they got on the ship. She hugs Vanessa in gratitude. Vanessa then kisses Wilee as the local time hits exactly 7 PM.

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