Movie Reviews & Interviews from Washington

‘Premium Rush’ Review: Stellar Performances; Cheesy Plot

Joseph Gordon-Levitt has quickly become one of Hollywood’s top actors to watch this year. I’ve been watching his career ever since “Third Rock From the Sun” and “10 Things I Hate About You” and was blown away by his performance as the love-struck boyfriend in “(500) Days of Summer.” He was fantastic in Nolan’s “Inception,” as the project researcher and had one of the best acting performances of 2011, as a 28-year-old diagnosed with cancer in “50/50.”

Gordon-Levitt certainly has what it takes to lead a film, but when the film is about a bunch of bike messengers speed-cycling around Manhattan, it’s just not very exciting premise for a movie.

Wilee (Gordon-Levitt) is a New York City bike messenger who gets paid around $80 a day to peddle around the city delivering envelopes and packages to and from clients. He is trying to maintain a relationship with a co-worker Vanessa (“Entourage’s Dania Ramirez), but she seems to be having second thoughts. He’s the company’s fastest cyclist and another co-worker Manny (Wole Parks) is envious of his talents and his girlfriend.

Wilee is given his final assignment at 5:00 p.m. to pick up an envelope somewhere in Midtown and deliver it to an address in Chinatown by 7:00 p.m. sharp. Since he has less than two hours to do it, it’s considering a “premium rush.” The envelope contains something that NYPD officer Bobby (Michael Shannon) desperately wants in order to settle some personal problems. Wilee and Bobby butt heads several times throughout the movie and the question becomes, “What is in the envelope?”

What’s interesting about “Premium Rush” is the editing and how director David Koepp tells the story out of order. The audience learns more about the characters’ backstory in the flashback scenes, which adds some emotional depth to the plot.

There’s some cool bike tricks here and there, but the plain fact of the matter is, I just didn’t care about the story. The one and a half hour long film felt way longer than it was and there were too many plot holes for me to take it seriously. Manhattan is only a few miles long and it seems like this expertise cyclists would have been able to get from point A to point B much quicker than they did.

The first act is an adrenaline pumping ride, while the second act is cheesy and presents a major plot change that just didn’t flow with Koepp’s action/thriller story.

Although the plot is unrealistic and goofy, the actors performances are strong, especially that of Shannon, who is possibly Hollywood’s most underrated actor. (If you haven’t seen “Take Shelter,” rent it now!)

If you’re a JGL fan, you may enjoy “Premium Rush,” but when you leave the theatre and start thinking about the movie, you’ll realize it’s no where near as good as what you originally thought while watching it in the theatre.

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