Sunday 17 September 2023

Movie Review: Premium Rush (2012)

Genre: Crime Chase Thriller
Director: David Koepp
Starring: Joseph Gordon Levitt, Michael Shannon
Running Time: 92 minutes

Synopsis: Disenchanted law student Wilee (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a speed-loving daredevil bicycle courier in New York City, and having relationship problems with his girlfriend and fellow bike courier Vanessa (Dania Ramirez). Wilee's last job of the day is to rush-deliver a package from Vanessa's roommate Nima (Jamie Chung) to a Chinatown address. The package contains a $50,000 hawala ticket, and Wilee is soon being furiously pursued by corrupt cop Bobby Monday (Michael Shannon), who is drowning in gambling debts.

What Works Well: Co-writer and director David Koepp creates a movie with its own power-generating source in the form of reckless biking on New York's wild streets. Every car, truck, pedestrian, stroller, and traffic light is a near-miss opportunity for a bone-breaking or skull-cracking fall, and Mitchell Amundsen's cinematography captures the thrill of a muscle-powered (and in Wilee's case, brakeless) machine carving impossible pathways through the maze of danger.

What Does Not Work As Well: Essentially a roadrunner-inspired bicycle chase movie riding one idea for 90 minutes, the cinematic bag of tricks begins to run out about halfway through. The characters have all the depth of cardboard cutouts, with Michael Shannon leaning towards blatantly cartoonish. The sub-plot of a bike-equipped police officer who develops a particular dislike towards Wilee is under-leveraged.

Conclusion: Plenty of verve, but not much else.

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