“Premium Rush”- Movie Review by Ben Lane

 

If there are any up and coming actors in Hollywood today, there is perhaps none quite as talented as Joseph Gordon Levitt. Kicking things off in 2009 with Marc Webb’s first, yet spectacular, directorial effort (500) Days of Summer, Gordon Levitt has been a star ever since, starring in Christopher Nolan’s masterful Inception, last year’s touching comedy 50/50, and earlier this summer, again with Christopher Nolan, playing a major role in The Dark Knight Rises. Later this year he will be starring as a young Bruce Willis in the time travel themed Looper and will late play Abraham Lincoln’s son in Steven Spielberg’s upcoming bio-pic, Lincoln. So, with nothing more to be said, it is obvious this young man seems to have a bright career ahead of him, but for now, we are forced to deal with him in Premium Rush, a film that is so delightfully stupid it gave me a “rush” while watching, but cannot necessarily be considered “premium.”

Directed by David Koepp, director of Secret Window, one of my favorite psychological thrillers, Premium Rush follows Wile-E, like the coyote, a bike messenger in New York who is given a package that peaks the interest of a dirty cop, played by Academy Award Nominee Michael Shannon, who then pursues the messenger to retrieve the package and what is concealed within. Even though that plot sounds ridiculously stupid, it’s actually… well, yeah. It’s stupid. But the plot of this film is the least of its problems.

As previously stated, this film is directed by David Koepp, who has written screenplays in that past that were later picked up by director Steven Spielberg; such movies include Jurassic Park and War of the Worlds. Although he has some good credits at writing, his direction in this film is absolutely fantastic. I loved every minute of this film that involved a chase, which was around 90% of it. Yes, unlike this summer’s Bourne Legacy, Premium Rush is mostly action with little talk. Every time Wile-E got on his bike, the film livened and adrenaline immediately rushed through my veins. This is one of the coolest chase movies I have seen in a while. Joseph Gordon Levitt, as usual, gives a great performance, and he proves in this film that he, as an actor, has range. This film features a great score, which provides some great tunes for some great chase sequences that really get your blood pumping.

The film is far from flawless, however. First off is the script, which is so sloppily written by Koepp and John Kamps. The film starts off quick and cool, but, by the time the third act approaches, the script gets jumbled up and tries to go places it should never go. Michael Shannon’s character, the main antagonist of the film, is, although played whole heartily, poorly underdeveloped and one dimensional. However, it is evident that Shannon had fun in the role, so that, to me, is a minor concern. There are two female characters in the film, one of which is Dania Ramirez, who plays Wile-E’s love interest. There is no way of getting around this fact: she may be pretty hot, but she is pretty awful in the film. The other female, played by Jamie Chung, is absolutely awful and is the worst part of this movie. Her lines are terrible, her performance is god awful, and her accent is obviously unnatural and annoying.

Although the bad seems to outweigh the good, it really doesn’t. There may be a greater amount of bad than good, but the good in the film consists of chase scenes, which are consistent, and they more than make up for the flaws in the script. Premium Rush may not live up to the first word in its title, but it certainly does the second, providing audiences with a fast paced, adrenaline fueled, action packed chase movie with a great, charming lead performance by Joseph Gordon Levitt.

Grade: B

Run Time: 91 mins

Rated: PG-13 for some violence, intense action sequences, and language

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