Premium Rush is one of those films you never see coming. It’s got a small ad campaign, a generic premise, no hype, and a really bad-looking trailer. Nontheless, the film manages to defy expectations, by actually being really fun. It’s not a phenominal movie that will change your life. It’s exactly what it aims to be, a cheesy, fun, energetic good time.
The film follows a New York City bike courier named Wilee (like the coyote), played by the always great Joseph Gordan-Levitt. He is, we are told and can clearly see, the best in the business. Wilee follows a strict set of rules (a la The Transporter, or Driver from Drive) which includes; never stop peddling, never use breaks, and never let the package leave his bag until he reaches his destination. During what seems like a normal day, Wilee gets a job to deliver an envelope. He then encounters an insane “dirty cop,” played by Michael Shannon, who for an unknown reason is after this envelope. Wilee’s rules, of course, prevent him from giving it up, and what follows is an endless chase through the streets of New York.
During my Bourne Legacy review, I talked about how that film lacked energy. Premium Rush is the polar opposite of the Bourne film. It has nothing but energy. It’s a non-stop chase movie that never lets up, and every single second is fun to watch. The chase scenes, while not really doing anything new or innovative, are well executed, and have great stunt work. Even the style is interesting and creative. Premium Rush is all about speed, and fittingly, its 90 minute runtime speeds by like it’s nothing.
The cast for the most part is very good. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is of course, great as he always is, giving the wise-cracking Wilee a lot of personality, and making him very likeable as a hero. Most of the other cast do their job, but aren’t very memorable. Dania Ramirez plays Wilee’s girlfriend and fellow courier, and she’s okay in the part, though not outstanding. But Michael Shannon as the villian, steals the film completely from under the rest of the cast, and runs away with it. He is brilliant as the insane slimey cop. Shannon has a lot of fun with the part, while also not forgetting to feel like a threat. Overall he’s one of the best villians this year.
The film is not perfect, of course. The dialogue is really bad, and sometimes even annoying. It was clear that the writer was trying to be Joss Whedon, but he failed horribly at it, making many lines completely cringe-inducing, in trying to be hip and cool. The storyline is also pretty paper-thin, but for this kind of movie, I don’t think a simple story is really a problem. Not every movie has to be a Chris Nolan film, after all.
Overall, in the dumping grounds of late august, Premium Rush is a gem that is enjoyable and fun throughout. It’s certainly no masterpiece, but if you’re looking for a fun matinee film, this is the one to see.
Thanks to Jonathan for another great Reviews by Jonathan, join him again soon for another review!.