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“Premium Rush” – Review (POSITIVE)

August 24, 2012

David Koepp is a well-known in the cinematic world; we all know him as David Koepp the screenwriter, behind such classics like “Jurassic Park”“Panic Room”“Spider-Man”, and“War of the Worlds”. But to my amazement I cannot believe he started the directing gig so late in his career. “Premium Rush” is Koepp’s third film as a director, with previously directing Ricky Gervais in the critically acclaimed comedy“Ghost Town”, and Johnny Depp in the Stephen King thriller “Secret Window”I noticed something about “Ghost Town” & “Premium Rush”; these films, when I saw the trailers for them, looked a bit moronic and formulaic, and from the sheer looks of it, the films look like they offer nothing special. Then I hear they’re getting some unexpected praise, so of course my curiosity is raised in an instant.

First off, this film was intended to be a January 2012 release, and then was suddenly pushed back for an end summer release, now some may not know this, but a January release or an end of August release is usually a death sentence for a film. However, it’s not the case here with this film. Like“Ghost Town”, Koepp & his writing partner John Kamps, craft a familiar plot with new additional add-ons that make the experience a more refreshing viewing, that and a well-rounded cast to back the film up, “Premium Rush” is the perfect film-going experience to end the summer season.

Dodging speeding cars, crazed cabbies, open doors, and eight million cranky pedestrians is all in a day’s work for Wyle (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), the best of New York’s agile and aggressive bicycle messengers. It takes a special breed to ride the lightweight, single-gear bikes, with NO brakes, and riders who are equal part skilled cyclists and suicidal nutcases who risk becoming a smear on the pavement every time they head into traffic. But, a guy who’s used to putting his life on the line is about to get more than even he is used to when a routine delivery turns into a life or death chase through the streets of Manhattan. When Wyle picks up his last envelope of the day on a premium rush run, he discovers this package is different. A corrupt/psychotic NYPD cop (Michael Shannon) is after the package and will stop at nothing from getting back.

The movie sort of resembles a bit of the 1986 film “Quicksilver”, only thing different, somebody wants to kill Jack (Kevin Bacon). The plot itself is somewhat paper thin, there’s only so much that can be made into a full-length feature about bike messengers. But, little by little, as the movie starts to reveal it’s self, it takes a different turn, and then becomes a story about one man taking a chance to help a close friend in dyer need. The film does some pretty cool editing styles; the quick cuts and random zooms play in the films favor, since it’s about a high-octane cyclist. We even get this clever 3D mapping of the city showing where Wyle needs to go, how to get there, and if there are alternate routes, it reminded me a lot of a video game. And the one aspect I think everyone is gonna go nuts for, is the ‘cycle-vision’, I’m not going to spoil it for any of you, but it’s a witty device to show the viewer what’s going through the mind of a cyclist.

Joseph-Gordon Levitt continues to give 110% to every role given to him, we’ve seen it in “The Dark Knight Rises”, and more so in last years “50/50” [arguably robbed from an Oscar nomination]. Here, he just has the time of his life in this movie. Clearly it’s not him riding the bike the whole time, although stay for the end credits, and you’ll see what kind of commitment he gave this movie. Michael Shannon, who is quickly becoming one of my favorite character actors, is bat-shit crazy in this movie, as a cop on the edge, who’s got a lot riding on retrieving this mysterious package. He makes a lot of stupid mistakes, but it just goes to show you that this crazy guys mind has gone all over the place, that he’s clearly not thinking. Best line from his character: “I’ll catch up…I forgot my bullets!”

Movies are escapists and when it comes down to it, “Premium Rush” is the perfect escapist movie to see during this blockbuster summer year, it’s flawed at times, but you forget all about when you just go for the ride (pun intended). The chase scenes between bikes, cars, and even a determined NYPD-cyclists, are all top-notch fun here. Just go in and have one last hoorah before the summer ends. Plus, it’s Joseph-Gordon Levitt, the dude is f-ing awesome!

GRADE: B+

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 26, 2012 4:23 pm

    I liked your review, and I do agree with you that Levitt is pretty freaking amazing 😀

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