PG Cooper: Premium Rush Review

Posted: August 26, 2012 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in PG Cooper's Movie Reviews

Release date: August 24th, 2012

Running time: 1 hour and 31 minutes

Written by: David Koepp and John Kamps

Directed by: David Koepp

Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Shannon, and Dania Ramirez

Premium Rush follows Wilee (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a New York City bike messenger, Despite attending law school and being smart enough to do damn near anything he wants, Wilee decides to continue the job of bike messenger despite the lower pay and higher risks. Why? Because he loves the thrill of the ride, and the idea of sitting around in a suit all day drives him crazy. One day, Wilee picks up a delivery which leads to him being viciously pursued by a corrupt cop (Michael Shannon), putting both Wilee and his ex-girlfriend/fellow bike messenger Vanessa (Dania Ramirez) in a world of trouble.

The trailers for Premium Rush had been giving me bad vibes. The film looked incredibly silly and a waste of some very respectable actors, but a combination of good reviews and personal circumstance lead to me seeing the film. Just as the trailers showed, Premium Rush is a silly film, but this surprisingly works in the film’s favour. Opening with The Who’s “Baba O’ Riley” with images of Joseph Gordon-Levitt being flung through the air in slow motion, director David Koepp makes it clear that this is a film that should not be taken too seriously. Instead, Koepp is inviting the audience to just sit back and have a good time, which I did.

Most of the film’s success can be attributed to the impressive chase scenes. Premium Rush is packed with chase scenes, all involving bikes, yet they never get stale. Whether it be a race between two cyclists, a struggle to get through traffic, or a chase between Wilee and a pissed off and crazy cop behind the wheel of a car no less, the biking scenes are always a highlight. The action highlight is the climax which lacks the speed of earlier chases, but features the coolest stunts. There’s also a fun little moment with a bunch of bike messengers which, despite being really silly, brought a smile to my face. Overall, the film manages to have tons of action and still makes it all excited.

Part of the reason the action never gets stale is the film does have a better story than one would expect. Getting the negative aspects of the plot out of the way; some of it is familiar territory and at times things get too connected and convoluted. The plus side is the film unravels its plot slowly and takes some interesting turns. By taking not telling the story in chronological order, Koepp and fellow screenwriter John Kamps are able to pace the story in the way that makes the biggest impact. Koepp also utilizes a style of quick cuts, slow motion, and CG. Not all of these stylistic elements are necessary, but none are distracting either.

Looking at the cast, Michael Shannon is the clear standout, playing a character who can be very threatening but also funny. It’s like Shannon took his role from Revolutionary Road and cranked that character up to eleven. He’s an insanely evil character, but he’s also hilarious to watch. It’s a scene chewing performance, but man it is fun to watch. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is also good. He brings a lot of charisma and enthusiasm to the role, despite the character being relatively uninteresting. The rest of the cast is less impressive, being either one dimensional or just plain annoying.

Premium Rush isn’t a deep or thought-provoking film, nor will it win any awards, but it does know exactly what it is; pure fun. Despite some obvious flaws, Premium Rush is a very enjoyable film. The biking scenes are immensely entertaining and Michael Shannon is a blast to watch. If you’re in the mood for some light entertainment, Premium Rush is what you’re looking for.

Rating: B-

  1. JJ Silf says:

    As you know, I can’t say I agree with your outlook on the flick, but to each their own. I’m hoping that we see more films that allow JGL to show off his real potential because there hasn’t been one since Inception, in my opinion.

  2. There you go PG, I’m right there with you. This is extremely insubstantial… but enjoyable nonetheless. Gotta love the biking sequences, they were great. :D

    Good review! B- is spot on.

  3. the chase scenes are indeed good, but a car versus a bike? a car should always win. also, ithought shannon was pretty cartoony in this. and lastly the plot was just abysmal.

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