Title: Premium Rush
It Really Is August, Isn't It? It really is. This is just another movie to drop in the dead zone between summer blockbuster season and Oscar consideration.
Rating Using Random Objects Relevant To The Film: Two snakehead fish out of five.
Tagline: "Ride like hell."
Better Tagline: "Yes, bike messengers still exist."
Brief Plot Synopsis: Bike messenger runs afoul of dirty cop. Spokes fly.
Not So Brief Plot Synopsis: Alpha bike messenger Wilee (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) has to deliver a mysterious
MacGuffin ticket to a shady Chinatown contact before he can be intercepted by an NYPD detective (Michael Shannon) with gambling issues.
"Critical" Analysis: For starters, everybody making wise-ass comparisons to the movie Quicksilver should probably stop, because a) the plot is only vaguely similar (both Wilee - "like the coyote" - and Kevin Bacon's character are working below their respective professional skill levels, the latter a laid-off stockbroker, the former a disillusioned law school grad), and b) 99 percent of humanity ever saw it.
I'd love to have been a fly on the wall for the negotiations between Gordon-Levitt, Shannon, and their respective agents when this movie was pitched. I mean, here are two actors widely regarded as two of the best of their generation, and they've made what amounts to a live-action Looney Tunes; the "Wile E. Coyote" references are apt, repetitive as they are, even if Gordon-Levitt's character is the hunted, not the hunter.
And it sort of works, at first. Writer/director David Koepp keeps things moving by jumping back and forth in the timeline of events, using amusing alternate timeline graphics to show Wilee's various options when confronted with life-threatening traffic. Even the initial pursuits are fairly interesting, though Shannon should have made Roscoe P. Coltrane the whole time.
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But it just goes on...and on. There's only so many relief maps of Manhattan and taxi cab dodging we can take before the mind wanders. Some elements work - the running subplot involving a pursuing NYPD bike cop is amusing, and years of mountain biking have given me a morbid fascination with bike/automobile collisions - but a lot doesn't. Wilee's motivation for being a bike messenger instead of a lawyer is essentially:he doesn't want to wear a suit. Then why hell did you go to law school? I hope he got a scholarship, because the $80 he makes "on a good day" isn't going a long way toward paying off those student loans.
These are the doldrums in more ways than one, folks. Football season hasn't started, the Olympics are over, and studios are dumping a bunch of their least-anticipated releases on the public to clear the slate for the autumn's "serious" films. Premium Rush is one of them.
Premium Rush is in theaters today. Don't be in a "rush" to see it (ah ha ha ha...yeah).