" Premium Rush keeps the pace tight and the audience engaged. The camera work forces us right in the middle of the traffic and the blaring car horns, allowing us to experience the tension both visibly and audibly. "
Director: David Koepp
Studio: Columbia Pictures
Tagline: Ride Like H**l.
Release Date: August 24, 2012
Dodging speeding cars, crazed cabbies and eight million cranky pedestrians is all in a day’s work for Wilee (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), the best of New York's agile and aggressive bicycle messengers. It takes a special breed to ride the "fixie" – a super lightweight, single-gear bike with no brakes. You have to be a rider who is equal part skilled cyclist and nutcase who accepts the risk of becoming a smear on the pavement every time he heads 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 his last envelope of the day – a routine “premium rush” run – turns into a life or death chase through the streets of Manhattan.MY TAKE
Scenery is on the menu, and Michael Shannon has a voracious appetite!
I’ll be honest – when I first saw the trailer for Premium Rush I was a bit skeptical. I scoffed at the idea of a thriller built around the premise of a bike messenger delivering an important envelope on time. But you know what? This is one of those rare late summer releases that comes out of nowhere and entertains you way more than you could have expected.
There’s no pretense here. No delusions of grandeur. No misguided Academy aspirations. Premium Rush is a film that recognizes the boundaries of its skin and is completely comfortable in it. It’s simply a fun, fast, and intense 90-minute ride that’s equal parts tension and comic relief.
Rather than potentially spoil any of the details, I’ll let you watch the finer points of the plot unravel on screen. Multiple back-stories are told via time flashbacks, so some of the events might get lost in the translation if you’re not paying close attention. What you need to know is that the essence of the film rests in following Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s bike journey through the streets of Manhattan as he attempts to deliver his envelope with a scene-stealing Michael Shannon and an I-take-my-job-way-too-seriously bike cop hot on his tail.
You’ll recoil and cringe as JGL weaves in and out of traffic, avoiding vehicles and pedestrians alike. You’ll laugh as the aforementioned bike cop continually regroups and continues his quest. And you’ll love to hate Mr. Shannon as he deftly demonstrates his character’s impulse control issues.
I’ve always heard people say how good of an actor Michael Shannon is, but I’ve never really seen him in anything. I will definitely seek out more of his work after enjoying his performance in Premium Rush. His hypocritical diatribe on how disgusted he is by the lowering of today’s standards had me laughing several minutes after he delivered it. I loved this guy!
I also enjoyed what I am branding the “alternate scenario cam” – whenever JGL finds himself in a tight situation, the camera shows him quickly calculating his possible routes and their potential outcomes, many of which end in hilarity and disaster for either Mr. Gordon-Levitt or an unsuspecting pedestrian.
Premium Rush keeps the pace tight and the audience engaged. The camera work forces us right in the middle of the traffic and the blaring car horns, allowing us to experience the tension both visibly and audibly.
The film’s main drawback is its abundance of profanity and crass talk. The worst offenders are one f-bomb and more than 10 uses of G-d**n.
Premium Rush never takes itself too seriously, and neither should you. As long as you check your expectations at the theater door then I’m confident the majority of you will find that this film – much like its bike messenger protagonist- delivers.
ODDS & ENDS
- While filming, Joseph Gordon-Levitt rode his bike into a cab and smashed into the rear windshield, shattering it. He blocked his face with his arms and needed 31 stitches. If you stay during the closing credits you can see real footage of what happened to both the windshield and his arm.
- Michael Shannon is in Jonah Hex with Josh Brolin who is in Hollow Man with Kevin Bacon.
Rated PG-13 for some violence, intense action sequences and language, Premium Rush contains too much course language to be appropriate for children. Profanity consists of 1 f-bomb, more than 10 G-d**ns, several s-bombs, quite a few other "primetime profanities," and the waving around of several middle fingers. Some of the action scenes, as well as one scene featuring a brutal beatdown of a guy, are also a bit much for younger viewers.