Cert: 12A Runtime: 91 mins Director: David Koepp Starring: Joesph Gordon-Levitt, Dania Ramirez, Jamie Chung and Michael Shannon
I like to ride. Fixed gear. No brakes. Can’t stop. Don’t want to, either
So I think the whole world can say that this is Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s year, he has featured in some of the best of 2012 and we are still waiting to see Looper and Lincoln. I must admit I can’t ride a bike and I have no interest in cycling what so ever. But when JGL is in the movie you have to watch it. David Koepp is a very well known writer, with only 8 directorial credits to his name what are we expecting from Premium Rush? Among the bike couriers in New York City, no one is more determined and reckless than Wilee (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), an ex-law student more comfortable on his brakeless bike than in a suit. One day, a Chinese foreign student named Nima (Jamie Chung) arranges for him to deliver a vital envelope across the city. Unfortunately, a crooked cop, Det. Robert Monday (Michael Shannon), has a desperate need for that envelope himself and won’t take “No” for an answer. Now, Wilee finds himself relentlessly pursued by Monday and others in a situation becoming more complicated and dangerous by the minute. Together with his friends and rivals, Wilee must discover the secret of this dangerous delivery and make it through a gauntlet that will require all his cunning, daring and courage to survive.
Director David Koepp (who also penned the screenplay and manned the camera for an extremely underrated thriller called The Trigger Effect), the fourth most successful screenwriter of all time, films the chase scenes, and everything else, in this film with stunning clarity and kinetic energy. The scenes are captured with a still camera, giving us point of view shows, medium shots, close ups, etc, and by the end of the film, we get a solid understanding of the layout of New York City as a whole.There’s something here for the person who loves action films and something here for the person who despises them. For the action buffs, there’s a great sense of suspense and unawareness during all the chases. Premium Rush has different kinds of car chases then we’re used to, mainly because in traditional action films, we sort of imply that the main character (or the ones driving the cars) are unaware of where they are going. We believe that Wilee has knows the map of New York City better than the cabbies, which could also possibly lead to why he ripped the brakes off his bike.
Why need brakes? I know where I’m going. I know what’s out there.Joseph Gordon-Levitt is the ideal person to play Wilee, for he is young enough to play a believable NYC messenger and he is sly and smarmy enough where his sarcastic words to people and Monday in particular feel like the words of a man in progress and not simply an adult trying to be hip. Michael Shannon, who is quickly becoming one of my favorite actors, dives head-first into the role of Bobby Monday, employing everything he knows about acting and subtleties and perfectly releasing all the rage he must’ve held inside during filming of Take Shelter, one of the most magnificent sleepers in a while.Premium Rush can’t disguise itself. It’s clearly an action movie, but what sets it apart is it is so much more focused, directorially and tonally than we’d expect. In a world where action is cluttered, muddled, mindless, and confusing, here is one of the slickest pictures in a blue moon, not only delivering coherent sequences of genuine peril but, gasp, reasonably developed characters, great performances, and some credible suspense. I thought those things weren’t allowed to even touch an action film anymore.