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Premium Rush

A movie directed by David Koepp

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Yep. The name does not exactly lie.

  • Sep 16, 2012
Rating:
+3
*** out of ****

One of the first images we see in David Koepp's "Premium Rush" is of its main character Wilee (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) as his body is flying mid-air in slow motion towards the ground, where it appears that he's had quite the fall. Fast forward a little earlier in the day, and we're back at the beginning of a journey of which we've apparently seen the upper end of, well, the end. It begins with Wilee (like the coyote) delivering an ominous envelope (that he assumes contains money but instead houses a movie ticket with a smiley face drawn on it) for his girlfriend Vanessa's (Dania Ramirez) Chinese roommate Nima (Jamie Chung), who isn't so quick to reveal the contents of the envelope but does tell Wilee that it must be delivered to a certain Sister Chen by a specific time in the day.

Wilee, discontent to take a desk job and wear a suit, works as a New York bike messenger with his girlfriend, rival Manny (Wole Parks), and various other bikers. He's just doing his job and is puzzled when the NYPD officer Bobby Monday (Michael Shannon) stops him as he's about to make a stop and asks him politely - but clearly in a state of distress - for the envelope. When Wilee refuses, the two chase each-other through the streets for a while and of course Wilee has the upper advantage. We find out that Monday is compulsive gambler who owes money to a Manhattan loan shark; and obviously, what he needs is in that envelope.

I feel that's all you really need to know about the film going in. You do not need to know what the ticket that rests in the envelope is worth to its characters, because that would be called a spoiler, and you do not need to know any of the twists that will definitely be linked to it. What I can say though is that I liked how this film unfolds. I like a good mind-fuck once in a while and while "Premium Rush" - the title referring to extra fare for fast deliveries - isn't the definitive movie for its kind; the breakneck pacing allows the twisty plot to speak its own language. It constantly goes back in time, forward in time, and then back again; but we never notice, because we're just along for the ride and enjoying it.

Gordon-Levitt has always been an entertaining star to watch on-screen although I do feel he's rarely given truly meaty roles to sink his more-than-capable teeth into. But if he's a mere Hollywood star, so be it; he's good at what he does. The role of Wilee required charisma and Levitt brings his A-game to the part, making the character likable in a simplistic sort of way, and almost relatable in deeper regards. Perhaps the film is presented in his mind-set; frenetic and fast, and just trying to get to the destination at a convenient time. But that's not to say that the whole affair is rushed. Levitt is countered by another respectively bat-shit crazy performance by my boy Michael Shannon, who is probably the next best man to call when you can't get Nicolas Cage in your movie.

"Premium Rush" is no doubt kind of derivative and even stylistically it is unoriginal. We've all seen exciting chase thrillers and this is nothing relatively new, but I still found it rather impressive for what it was. It has all the credentials of cool, and in style is achieves a lot. We see Wilee make choices inside of his head of routes to take and the potential consequences of taking them (a lot of these end up being funny since there's a lot of CG work that went into making them), and the editing is decidedly all over the place, but it kind of has to be. We have to feel as if we're riding a bike with these fearless fuckers, and we do. So Koepp has done his job as a director. "Premium Rush" is a good film that is not without its imperfections, and it won't end up one of the best of the year, but who wanted it to be? It is what it is; a perfectly entertaining exercise of a movie. Leave all potential cynicism at the gate and feel the rush that this nifty little film intends to give you, because it's a damn good one.

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More Premium Rush reviews
review by . August 26, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
Pedal to The Metal
Those of us who’ve lived in the urban jungles of America have familiar with the folks who are called Bike messengers. Those who of us who drive during rush hour or during the regular office days see them as a hazard to the flow of safe traffic, and while I have to admit that there are indeed some messengers who truly push the limits and do not respect the law, I understand the need for such men. They say that if you don’t want any service that can prove dangerous, then make sure there …
review by . March 25, 2013
posted in Movie Hype
Premium Rush won my heart so thoroughly with its opening monologue alone that it would have taken a galactic screwup for me to be completely put off it. Reviewers have made a lot over one small line in said monologue: "I like to ride. Fixed gear. No brakes. Can't stop. Don't want to, either." Its been called smarmy and ridiculous, but I doubt much of the bicycle messenger community shares that opinion. I worked that dangerous and punishing job myself on the Chicago circuit for several years, and …
review by . August 25, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
Star Rating:         Premium Rush is one hell of a ride – an action thriller, a chase spectacle, a mystery, and a tale of international intrigue all rolled into one gloriously adrenaline-hopped package. It was directed and co-written by David Koepp, who proves yet again that, no matter what genre he works in, his flair for outlandish material is his strong suit. To illustrate my point, consider Death Becomes Her, Jurassic Park, Mission: Impossible, Stir of Echoes, …
review by . August 27, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
   "I live my life how I ride, no gears, no brakes," This is just one of the lines that come out of our protagonist's mouths.  But how could you possibly be rooting for any bike rider after living in the city for as long as anyone has. Bikers are  the bane of both city drivers and walkers, full of hipsters, weaving in and out of traffic, running red lights whenever they feel.  Bikers are the worst.  I'm sure you my biker reader are a perfectly …
About the reviewer
Ryan J. Marshall ()
Ranked #11
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … more
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