Aug 27, 2012 / 12:32 pm
Usually when a studio drops a movie into the late summer schedule with a limited marketing campaign and it receives little hype or buzz, people generally tend to dismiss it. I didn't know too much about the new film Premium Rush other than it starred two exceptional actors and it featured a lot of action involving bike messengers in Manhattan.
With expectations firmly held in check, I decided to give it a look. Thankfully it turned out to be a whole heap of fun and exactly the kind of movie one wants during the summer. Premium Rush is an action packed thrill ride that hums along at a breakneck pace and even includes a few laughs along the way. This is a real popcorn muncher for sure.
The movie had me hooked right away as the opening strains of The Who's "Baba O'Reilly" blasted during the opening credits and we are thrown into the action immediately. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Wilee (like Wile-E Coyote), a NYC bicycle messenger who is a bit of a daredevil and chooses to ride a special single-gear bike with no brakes called a fixie. He races around the city streets dodging cars and pedestrians like a madman but he's one of the best at what he does.
When he gets an assignment to pick up an envelope from his girlfriends roommate it seems like it will be just another routine delivery until he finds himself being chased mercilessly by a dirty cop who desperately wants what's inside the package. What follows is a pulse pounding race against time as Wilee attempts to deliver the package to the rightful owner by the deadline, all while being pursued relentlessly. It seems pretty simple right? Like there is not really too much to the story, but writer and director David Koepp throws enough interesting twists and turns into the mix to keep you on the edge of your seat.
I was reminded of other race against time thrillers such as Nick of Time, Speed and Phone Booth where the action moves along quickly and there's barely any time to breathe. Michael Shannon is great as the nasty and nutty Detective Monday. He's completely unhinged in his performance and it looked like he relished playing the part.
The geek in me also really chuckled when he used the alias Forrest J. Ackerman a couple of times - Ackerman was a noted science fiction writer and editor of the awesome magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland. I won't get into why his character wants the package so badly or the eventual significance of said package because I don't want to ruin anyone's thrill of discovery.
Suffice it to say that it ended up being more interesting than I thought it would be. Levitt does his usual solid job here playing a likable character that despite his cocky brashness, you still end up rooting for him. He's just a superb young actor and even though this material may be a tad thinner than what we're used to seeing him in, he clearly was having some fun with it. And that's really the point isn't it?
When you go to a summer movie, you want to be entertained and escape life's problems for 90 minutes. With its hyper kinetic camera work and fast paced chase sequences, Premium Rush is an enjoyable way to do just that. Check this one out folks.
I give Premium Rush a really solid 7 out of 10.
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