Have you ever thought to yourself “Action films with cars are SO OVER. Where are all the action films with bicycles!?”? Surely THIS guy has. If you have as well, then David Koepp’s Premium Rush is THE film for you. I didn’t have much expectations going into this thing, to be honest. I’m a huge Joseph Gordon-Levitt fan, and yet I found his choosing to be in this project rather odd. I don’t know, an action film about Bike Messengers in New York just seemed a little too… bottom of the barrel, if you will. Thankfully, practically the entire film proved me wrong. Not to get all cheesy on you guys, but Premium Rush was indeed a premium rush!
Director David Koepp, who is also responsible for writing the screenplays for Jurassic Park, Panic Room, Mission: Impossible, and the first Spiderman film, managed to make an incredibly exciting action film about dudes who like to ride bicycles. It was thrilling, it was funny, and it was a blast to watch. The film opens with The Who’s famous track “Baba O’Riley” and a slow motion shot of JGL (which, alright guys, JGL is codename for Joseph Gordon-Levitt where I come from. So from here on out, when I say JGL, you’ll know what I mean, Ok? Ok, cool. Thumbs up!) sailing through the air after being hit by a taxi. I immediately thought, “alright so that’s what type of film this is going to be” before slightly rolling my eyes. Well, yes it DID indeed end up being THAT type of film, it knew it and never tried to be anything else.
The biggest and best example? MICHAEL. FREAKING. SHANNON. Good god did this dude deliver. You know, let’s just be honest here, when does he NOT deliver? I mean, shit, did you see Take Shelter? I’m getting goosebumps just thinking about his performance in that, but that’s a different story. Michael Shannon shows up in Premium Rush as a NYPD detective who’s got somewhat of a gambling problem. He learns about a certain “hot ticket” that will guarantee that he not only retains enough money to pay off his debts but to have plenty of extra money to lose almost immediately in another back-room dominos match (presumably). He spends the entire film hilariously chasing down this “hot ticket” that is now in the possession of JGL’s character, as he is couriering it across town. Shannon plays this character so hilariously erratic and over the top that you can’t help but to immediately love the guy. Nearly every line of dialogue from his character was met with a roar of laughter from the handfull of critics watching this film with me. Oh and just wait until you hear his laugh. Indescribably awesome.
But of course, Michael Shannon’s character wouldn’t be quite as effective if he wasn’t playing cat and mouse with JGL, who much like Shannon, is never not awesome. Plus, he’s the most handsome dude in Hollywood. Just look at that smile! I mean, wait, what? Uhh yeah, so Premium Rush. Yeah! JGL plays Wilee (like the coyote), who is given an envelope to get across Manhattan in a short amount of time. He rides a bike with no brakes, no gears, nothing. Just wheels, a chain, and a steel frame. Exhilarating! This naturally all eventually leads to Wilee saying “I’m going to grind the shit out of that bike” and then performing ridiculous BMX tricks all over a NYPD Tow Garage.
Although Premium Rush suffered slightly from a couple of lackluster plot devices (the confusing relationship between JGL and a fellow bike messenger being the most useless), the majority of the film just completely worked for me, when I was fully expecting it not to. There are even a handful of inexplicable cameos that keep you on your toes, including Anthony Michael Hall as a beat cop and Sleigh Bells performing in a bar. Weird, right? This was a film that I definitely think is worth your time. It’s ridiculous and a complete blast. If nothing else, just see it for the fantastic performance from Michael Shannon. Although, I did ask myself after the screening, “would this film have been anywhere near as fun without the casting of Shannon and JGL?” Honestly, it probably wouldn’t, but I think that’s a good testiment to these two’s acting chops.
I give Premium Rush 4 $7 Delicious Urban Street Logs out of 5:
By Richard Pepper