Director: David Koepp
Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Dania Ramirez, Michael Shannon, Jamie Chung
Genre: Action/adventure, Thriller
Running Time: 91 mins
For the purpose of this review, I will refer to “gangsters” as “gangstahs” for dramatic effect.
The number of positive reviews I’ve read about this movie surprises me. Ok. Hang on. That was probably not the best way to start this review. I’m not saying it wasn’t a ‘good movie’. It was. The mainly unanimous positive response was unexpected, however.
If you are a deep and troubled intellectual soul looking for something to move you and help you find your own path in life, this is not the movie for you. Look elsewhere, buddy. If you like high-octane adrenaline, impossibly speedy chase scenes, and eye candy stunts, you’ve come to right place. This movie is all about the concept of spectacle in film. I’m contemplating how theoretical I should get in this review…
The colours pop. Cue Wilee’s (Gordon-Levitt) bright red T-shirt he sports throughout the entire movie. Red. The colour of passion, anger, fire. Certainly appropriate for this character. While it is not really explained (and since little background is really given to any of the characters), one could infer that Wilee was once a bright, up and coming law student who apparently dropped out of an unnamed prestigious New York college just before the Bar exams. Instead, he became a bike messenger for a delivery company. Why? Simply because he loves biking, the thrill of biking, and the freedom to not work in a 9-5 office job because of biking.
So, the Macguffin in Premium Rush, is a ticket. Yes, you heard me right. The plot is driven by a damn ticket. The ticket is representative of a large monetary value and is important to Nima (Chung). Pause. Now, you guys know that Jamie Chung was born and raised in California…right? I’m sorry to everyone I disturbed in the cinema when I burst out laughing the second I heard a Chinese accent come out of her mouth. Hahaha, stereotyping. Moving on. Nima gets Wilee to deliver this said ticket because he’s the best bike courier in the city, according to his girlfriend, Vanessa (Ramirez) who also just happens to be Nima’s ex-roommate). Now here’s why there’s all the chasing: corrupt NYPD cop Bobby Monday (Shannon) owes some Asian gangstahs some money and thus the ticket is his way out of gangstah debt.
With a great bad cop name like “Bobby Monday”, you’d think he would be a little bit more sinister and little less whiney brat. Nope. Nuh-uh. I forget we aren’t watching Training Day (2001). My bad. So Monday owes some “bad” people some money, yet I didn’t feel any urgency about this. Nobody was calling him leaving threats in the form of severed body parts in the trunk of his car (or anything outrageously gangstah like that), so…why was he behaving like it’s the end of the world? I couldn’t tell you. But that guy really needed to take a chill pill.
The motion media and impressive stunt work were visually pleasing and something refreshing to watch after a summer of CGI action. The film also employs a gimmick I am personally a fan of: revealing the plot in asynchronous time (that is, the film tends to go backwards or forwards in time in all or certain parts of the film). It gives your brain a little bit more work to do and always makes the plot seem smarter or cleverer than it really is.
The Long and Short: The action kicks off strong and hard right from the get-go and hardly lets up. The movie epitomizes the adrenaline of chase scenes with an exciting new perspective- from a bike!
My Recommendation: See this flick. Just do it.
Favourite Scene: Every single time the NYPD bike cop tried to catch Wilee.