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It's not a 10 star film but it is a fun ride with action that makes up for a few flaws in plot and the flow of storyline. The best issue in this film is almost constant action and wild biking through the New York streets. One of the elements that were new to the screen and highly workable were the sudden stop of action to follow the split-second decision making of a messenger/biker. Choices (usualy three) that have to be made in the moment. The bad guy in the film is nasty and very believable. So, if you're looking for a thrill ride and a fun film then go see it. Enjoy the earthy feel of the cameras that capture the life of a messenger on two wheels competing with trucks, cabs, and cops.
An action movie about biking through the streets of Manhattan is
certainly an interesting idea, and may seem a bit silly, but writer and
director David Koepp manages to create a fun and exhilarating film
around this premise. Premium Rush is the type of movie that gets better
as it goes on, expanding on its characters and creating riveting and
never tiresome chase scenes.
The story is a little over the top, but that hardly matters. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Wilee, a bike messenger who loves to ride through the streets of New York like a maniac, with no gears and no brakes. He has a girlfriend who also works for the same company, although on this particular day she is mad at him for not showing up to her college graduation. Near the end of the day, Wilee gets a package from his girl's roommate. This package is of some special importance because a dirty cop, played with exquisite menace and insanity by Michael Shannon, wants the package in order to pay off his immense gambling debt. So of course a chase across the city ensues throughout the remainder of the day.
One of the major benefits of this movie is that it is not told in strict chronological order. The first scene shows Wilee crashing and flying through the air, only for us to travel back in time to earlier that day. Once we meet Michael Shannon's character and have a nice chase, the movie again backs up for a bit, revealing what the dirty cop was doing earlier that day. This helps the movie to avoid being simple and tired. In fact, the movie has an energy that is on par with its bike riding characters, who seem to hardly ever tire of pedaling.
Koepp directs the movie with a flare for Manhattan, where the entire movie was shot. The film makes a big deal about life in the city, while minimizing the gaudier aspects of filming in the big apple. There is no sweeping shots of Time Square or the Empire State Building, and we don't even get a wide shot of the city until the very end. Instead, Koepp immerses us in the town, and by extension the characters that know it so well. At times the script falls into the realm of cheesiness, especially when it comes to some of the one liners, and the all encompassing pride that Wilee has in his work.
Premium Rush is an exiting action movie, and the best one out about bike riding. Michael Shannon's fantastic performance and the on location shooting make this movie an energetic and awesome ride.
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
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.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
On paper and from a financial standpoint, it doesn't make a whole lot
of sense that Premium Rush was made. It is a high speed action film
about bike messengers delivering packages set in New York. Not saying
that there is no potential for entertainment there, but it seems like
it would be down the list for green-lighting compared to fighting
robots and action heroes blowing half a city up. But somehow, Premium
Rush was given the go-ahead, landed some quality names in Joseph
Gordon-Levitt and Michael Shannon, and the film hit theaters.
Unfortunately, the thriller ended up being nothing more than a middle
of the road action film that is easily forgettable.
Gordon-Levitt stars as Wilee, an energetic bike messenger that lives by the simple rules of riding like hell, only using a fixed gear/steel framed bike, and never using brakes. One afternoon he is sent to deliver an envelope by his girlfriend's roommate, Nima, but finds himself in a fight with a crooked cop (Shannon) who wants the delivery. Turns out, the envelope holds a receipt for a great deal of money that Nima trusted Wilee to deliver. It also turns out that the crooked cop is in a good deal of trouble with gambling debt and plans on stealing the receipt to pay off his problems.
So the plot is nothing great; need to make a delivery, crooked cop chasing you, can't trust the police. But what does the film have to offer? Well, Gordon-Levitt and Shannon both play their characters well, but there is not much too it. The characters are pretty one dimensional and seem more like a payday gig than a role someone really wants to take up. Perhaps they seem like better actors because Jamie Chung who plays Nima is so bad. Every line that roles out of her mouth is forced and she seems extremely uncomfortable on camera. Not only was this extremely distracting, it made everyone around her worse, specifically one scene in a bathroom between Nima and Wilee's girlfriend, Vanessa. Maybe Dania Ramirez is pretty poor throughout the film, but her scenes with Jamie Chung are particularly brutal.
To read the rest of the review (IMDb form too short) visit: http://custodianfilmcritic.com/premium-rush/
Now this is how to make an action flick! A small one, mind you, but it's one of the most fun pictures to come out this summer. Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as a bicycle messenger in Manhattan who lands the unfortunate job of delivering a small slip of paper worth a ton of money. Corrupt cop Michael Shannon, trying to pay off a Chinatown gambling debt, gets wind of the item and attempts to relieve JGL of it. Unfortunately for Shannon, JGL is a pretty darn fast rider and great with stunts, and soon he has the help of his girlfriend (Dania Ramirez), who is also a bicycle messenger. It's just a simple chase movie, but it's perfectly edited and paced, with well-timed jumps back in time to explain the situation. The actors are all fine (I also really liked JGL's professional and romantic rival, Wole Parks), but Shannon really steals the show. This is the perfect place for his style of menace. Well worth your time.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I often wondered what the difference between my bike and the newer ones
are. I got my bike in 1988, it cost a bit of money but it has lasted
24years and still looks brand new. When I looked in detail what I saw
amazed me. First of all the steel tubes are not just sawed and welded
together, there are special sleeves that are fitted onto the tubes and
then the tubes are welded to the sleeves, vastly increasing the
strength. Whoever wrote the script for this movie knew about bikes.
I was thrilled throughout the whole movie. The first thing I liked was the character of Wilee as portrayed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. It gives me faith that there are still people with integrity that don't drink all KoolAid we are force fed. Wilee is one of them, and so is his girlfriend Vanessa, another super cyclist. In fact so is the whole crew at the bike delivery company. The acting is great, Michael Shannon is the perfect d..bag! The chase scenes were cliff hangers, what I loved the most were the stops that Wilee made by swinging the bike to one side and skidding sideways...really cool!
The scenario with the money and smuggling the child from China was well researched. Really a tightly woven well executed movie.
Premium Rush is a commercial film that sticks to being a 'B' movie with
some A-movie assets - chiefly the actors Joseph Gordon-Levitt and
Michael Shannon as the hero and opposition - and David Koepp does a
very good job balancing those elements. It could have been just a
straight to video title, but it's smart about being a little movie
(that is, not quite as on the radar as a big summer tentpole), and has
a script that can hold its story and juggle a few elements with more
than just competency, that you can go for the ride without being
insulted. And yes, it isn't just hyperbole saying it's a 'ride'; here,
as in some TV shows (only here with better visual intentions than just
quick- adrenaline-fixes), we see with big visual effects the scenarios
our hero Wiley (yes, perhaps ironically named as he is really the
Roadrunner) navigates the streets, his main route, and then when he's
at a cross- walk and cars coming on all sides which of three paths he
could take and if he'll die or not or kill others.
Sure, most of us (those of us walking or driving in a city, such as New York) don't like bike messengers, but it's in abstract or in the all-too personal. Koepp's cleverness is to look at a bike messenger on the street and go 'hmm, how about a movie about him and what he has to do, and then what if we throw in a crooked cop and a mob element and a woman wanting to reunite with her kid?' A lot of these elements on their own (and perhaps still the woman with the kid) could be under-cooked or just not very interesting. Altogether, they amount to something, rather that the elements can connect through Michael Shannon's cop Detective Monday (or "Officer Ackerman") who sets a lot of this into motion through his comically inept gambling addiction and inability to get money together - or a ticket from a bike messenger.
Some of this may just seem like 'screenwriting 101', with pieces like the woman with the son and the hero's conflicts (love interest, side- opponent in another bike messenger, the latter I didn't care for as it was too weak on its own and in the movie), but hey, in a first-level class there can be good work done! It's not even a 'turn off your brain' kind of suspense thriller either; Koepp has enough experience to inject, along with his co-writer, really funny or witty dialog, solid (albeit 'movie') character dynamics as people ride on their bikes and can speak on their blue-tooth phones. It's so good when watching the actors bicycling along, and some stunt doubles but who knows when they really use them it's so well integrated, it almost slows the movie down when they have to stop to fill in the spots of the story's quasi- MacGuffin object in the envelope.
But mostly, it's the acting that carries it through. Gordon-Levitt is an appealing lead, likable but has a tough attitude when he needs to, and of course you got to go with him. But without Shannon, frankly, I don't know if the movie would have been as successful, at least to the level it's at now. He's such a convincingly kooky-looking villain, brutal, nasty, but cartoonish in a big way (listen to his laugh, or chuckle, and it's a touch of Chucky the doll or something!) Even in a supposedly marginal Hollywood thrill-ride, Shannon brings his A-game.
I used to own a bike..then I bought a car..anyway. Basically guy on
bike versus bad guy in car. With the whole love story slash you could a
been somebody thrown in. I really enjoyed this movie. It's definitely
leaving the brain at the door, but in a nice way. There are no major
action scenes. Acting, storyline, action, ending..I literally can't
fault any of this. The director kept it very realistic; with a hint
of... dare I say eighties ..we can do it nostalgia.
For the movie buffs I'd say, Gleaming the cube mixed with Taxi (original french version..we all known US version was rubbish). Adrenalin sports guy takes on the system. Watch it.
The movie is set around bicycle messenger/courier who chases and is
chased around New York City due to an envelope containing a wanted item
by people with different intentions. The events - not shown in
chronological order, through various flash-forward and flash-back cuts
- are intense, but not too realistic: New York is full of policemen, on
foot/in cars/on bikes, and it is not likely to race and speed
negligently for miles through dozens of blocks, causing accidents or
incidents... Chases are, however, gripping to follow, and thanks to
great performances by Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Wilee and Michael Shannon
as Bobby Monday, the movie goes beyond trivial cat and mouse play (only
pity that Monday did not have the same vehicle than Wilee). Female
performers, on the other hand, are not very catchy and
romantic/sympathetic background is rather perfunctory.
The movie is definitely for you if you like fast races and thrill within a big city and/or you know NY well (joy of recognition).
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
When it comes to chase movies, we know what it is that the audience
wants to see.
As critically panned as they may be, you cannot deny that films such as "Gone in 60 Seconds" or "The Fast and the Furious", even if their scripts are sub-par, get your adrenaline pumping once they peel out into a 120mph chase down a busy city street.
Some films can combine a great story along with exhilarating chase sequences such as "The Bourne Ultimatum" or "Terminator 2: Judgement Day".
This film... had neither.
When I first viewed the trailer, I knew the deal. It seemed like a film that would be lacking in story, but the bike chase sequences were what were really being sold to the audience.
I was correct in my first assumption. The story was amateur. The time flashbacks were lazy and hardly did anything to add to the story. In fact, most of the time they would completely kill the film's flow. It took too long to get into the actual plot, and even after we got to the end of the first act, when the real chase begins, we are not invested enough in the characters to stick with them.
As for the characters, it would even be too much to call them clichés. There was so little there, I do not even know if they could constitute as actual characters. The relationship between Levitt and Ramirez was paper thin at best and gave us absolutely no stakes in actually wanting these characters to either succeed or end up together.
Michael Shannon's performance was the one silver lining, injecting some fear and humor into a script that seems like a first draft. Levitt was fine, but there was not enough written for his character to showcase his talent.
Now, the chase scenes...
As I mentioned above, some films, while their story may be lacking, put the bulk of their effort into crafting impressive and exhilarating chase scenes.
Never have I seen a chase film directed with such little energy or passion.
They had no tension. The editing was not used to the film's advantage, opting for long cuts rather than quick, sharp editing. Most the the "chase" scenes involved Levitt's character merely biking at medium scene through traffic.
The scene where Levitt's character races a fellow bike messenger through a park has to have been the most lackluster and bland races I have ever seen in any film. Ever.
I am amazed at the positive reception that the film is receiving and suppose I could chalk it up to the talent involved. However, I think that makes the film that much more tragic.
David Koepp has been attached to some pretty decent projects including "Jurassic Park" and "Panic Room", but by no means is he a spectacular screenwriter.
Still, you'd think a writer who has been in the business for over twenty years would have been able to bring even a little bit of substance to his latest script.
Letting him direct may have been the mistake. The two films I mentioned above were directed by masters: Spielberg and Fincher, respectively. Looking back, neither of the scripts were incredible, but were brought to new heights life through the eyes of a great director.
Perhaps in the hands of a more experienced director, this film could have been something special given the acting talent of both Levitt and Shannon.
In the end, this film could at least have been a fun flick, but the tonal shifts and waste of talent hardly even grant this film the cost of the ticket.
Skip it. You are not missing much.
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