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Bike Date Goes to the Movies: Premium Rush

03 Sep

Have car chase movies jumped the shark? Sadly, no. But I was delighted to see the chase movie genre has expanded to include bicycles in Premium Rush. Think of it as Smokey and the Bandit with bike messengers and NYPD cops instead of truck-driving southerners and good old boy county sheriffs and deputies.

At first, Dick and I weren’t sure if we wanted to see it. Cyclists already get such a bad rap as scofflaws with no regard for safety–theirs or anyone else’s. Why pay to see a movie about the jerks that give us all a bad name?

We went anyway and we’re glad we did. I won’t give out any spoilers, so let’s just say that that aside from promoting the misguided notion that fixed gear bikes can’t stop without a brake, and fueling the anti-bike crowd’s claims that cyclists have ruined New York City, the movie is great fun.

The action is fast, the bike handling is superb, and you genuinely like the heroes even if they ride like crazed, well, bike messengers. And the dirty cop villain alone is worth the price of admission. Unlike most action movies, there were no guns, almost no special effects, and the actors had the skills to do many of the bike stunts themselves. Best of all, the movie proves without a doubt that bikes have the upper hand in heavy traffic.

My only fear: boosted by the popularity of Smokey and the Bandit, sales of the Pontiac Trans Am jumped 70% in two years after the movie release. Let’s hope Premium Rush doesn’t boost brakeless fixie sales in the same way. There are enough bike messenger wannabees out there already.

Do you think that a movie like Premium Rush makes cyclists look bad? What about car chase movies, do you think they make drivers look bad? Is it somehow different?

About Bike Date Friday: Since September 2010, my husband and I have had a standing date every Friday night. We eat at a different place every week and arrive by bike. There’s no better way to end the work week.

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7 Comments

Posted by on September 3, 2012 in Bike Date

 

7 responses to “Bike Date Goes to the Movies: Premium Rush

  1. Rachel Unger

    September 4, 2012 at 9:04 am

    I can’t bring myself to watch Premium Rush. I think 2 hours of people riding like jerks would just frustrate me. :/ If I want excitement, there are enough other action movies available right now.
    I will admit – the motorbike chase scene in Bourne Legacy didn’t hit any of those buttons. Maybe that’s because I don’t regularly see people doing stuff like that on city streets? Or if they did, there would be consequences?

     
    • ladyfleur

      September 4, 2012 at 9:35 am

      I think the problem is that the general public lumps cyclists together and wants to hold us accountable as a group. So we cringe when we see bad behavior. The “lumping in one group” is probably true for motorcyclists, but not true for drivers.

      What bugs me most is seeing the car ads on TV where they show the cars speeding and sliding around city streets to show how cool their car is. While I don’t see cars sliding down the street, these ads encourage drivers to speed and to accelerate and stop quickly, which is not just a danger to them, but to everyone else on the street. And I rarely see speed limits enforced or cars pulled over for aggressive driving.

       
    • Lizabeth West

      January 25, 2014 at 5:50 am

      You missed a very exciting movie. Bike courriers have a high risk job. It isn’t the normal cycling. It’s interesting to get a look at some of the obstacles in this job and see an exciting plot develop with it. There were some actual courriers in the movie, as well as stunt riders.

       
  2. djconnel

    September 4, 2012 at 9:32 am

    Funny how if you do a moving of people engaged in close urban combat, or having unprotected sex, or reckless car chases on open public roads, no problem. Yet this film will no doubt drive people into a mouth-frothing frenzy of hate. As a film it was a total failure, but as a movie it wasn’t too bad.

     
    • ladyfleur

      September 4, 2012 at 9:37 am

      Dan, I think the people who actually see the movie will be OK with it. The ones who would be offended wouldn’t show up. We went to a matinee in a less popular cinema, so I didn’t get a good sample size, but there were families with kids and they seemed to enjoy it. No groaning or tsk tsking.

       
  3. Lizabeth West

    January 25, 2014 at 5:55 am

    Bike tolerance on the road will grow with more cyclists on the road. We have a car culture and it will take a long time to get drivers use to sharing with cyclists. There is virtually no education explaining that cyclists have a legal right to the road or how to deal with cyclists in a safe manner. To get more numbers on the road, there needs to be more bike infrastructure and a law enforcement that is willing to take dangerous driver action toward cyclists seriously.

     

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