Ride like hell.
Pedestrians hate motorists. Motorists hate pedestrians. But everyone hates cyclists.
Going into Premium Rush I couldn’t help but think about the add campaign for this flick really making it seem like The Transporter… on a bike. As good an action flick as that series is, I was gleefully surprised that Premium Rush in fact not The Transporter Goes Green.
This little 91 minute, 35 million dollar flick stars our new Hollywood-favourite allround good-guy Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Wilee, a bike messenger with a passion for the extreme as he tries to deliver a package that’s worth a lot more than the thirty bucks he’s getting paid. He’s gotta do that while being vexed by Michael Shannon as Bobby Monday, a dirty cop trying to dig himself out of a gambling debt. Director David Koepp follows these two through the means streets of Manhattan using stunningly beautiful shots.
This is a pretty flick. But like some pretty ladies. It’s all looks and no brains.
– The action. I won’t lie the stunt people working on this flick deserve double pay. Awesomely planned sequences weaving in and out of traffic between Mazdas (There’s some solid product placement in this film) and UPS trucks. The camera gets all up in their junk. Koepp even takes you into the decision making process of Wilee as he exams the possibilities in slowmotion with graphics. Sometimes he eats pavement. Sometimes he thrashes a baby carriage. He usually chooses the flashier option in which he lives.
– Michael Shannon. He’s a douche-bag. It’s a reoccurring theme in this film. But he plays it up very well. He gracefully straddles the line between goofball and sleazeball that keeps the audience interested.
– The first two acts. The action is pretty solid and fast-paced. The story develops quickly and not too deeply. We care enough so that when the subject of why Wilee’s galpal is mad at him, is brought back later in the film it isn’t just cheesy time-filler.
WHAT DIDN’T WORK:
– The third act! I don’t know if this is an issue from the writing team of Koepp and John Kamps or maybe if was an editing problem. But the pace of this rather short film seems to start sputtering like my uncle Joe’s Buick.
– The humour. A lot of the jokes kind of fell flat on their faces. At one point they get heavy into a car/bike chase with Monday telling Wilee that everyone hates him because he’s a bike-messenger. Great way to have people sympathize for your main character; remind people that they do hate cyclists.
– There’s a scene in which Wilee is racing another bike-messenger through the park. Yeah. A race. Not in a must save something important, but a “I know I’m faster than you so I’m going to be a jerk about it way.” Thanks Hollywood for the 35 million dollar Tour-de-
– Some plot holes. Nothing to get worked up about if you’re able to suspend your disbelief from the start of the film.
– I doubt Premium Rush will rake in 35 mil this weekend. It’s a good little flick if you’re in the mood to see some awesome action shots with a bike and some cool GPS graphics. The pace of the film will keep you excited for the most part, and when it does start to get sloppy, the insane final bike ride will keep you happy.
Premium Rush is 80% Prime Awesome!