Towards the end of summer, audiences are given buckets of lackluster films. Most of us associate August with being showered with dull cinematic messes, while anticipating Oscar season. But every once in a while we’re blessed with a fun-loving, stupidly over-the-top movie like Premium Rush. It may not be the greatest thing to hit theaters, but it fits the bill entertainment-wise.
- Director: David Koepp
- Writers: David Koepp, John Kamps
- Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Shannon, Dania Ramirez, Jamie Chung, Wolé Parks, Aasif Mandvi
- Music: David Sardy
- Cinematography: Mitchell Amundsen
Wilee (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) gets his kicks carefully navigating through New York City as a bike messenger. His day starts off bad due to a rocky relationship with co-worker Vanessa (Dania Ramirez) and takes a turn for the worse when her friend Nima (Jamie Chung) hands him an envelope. Next thing you know he’s being chased by a shady cop (Michael Shannon) and the rest of the NYPD.
- Choose Your Own Adventure: Whoever thought of the idea of multiple scenarios that our hero bike messenger can take is brilliant. It’s easily one of the best parts of Premium Rush, because how hilarious it can get. We won’t reveal much more than that.
- The Always Delightful Michael Shannon: If you don’t know what a spectacular actor Michael Shannon is, then that’s your bad. Ever so often you have to tip your hat to someone for what they do on screen. Within the past few years we’ve done it so much we may be getting carpal tunnel. Shannon is so wonderfully over-the-top that he alone is worth the price of admission. He’s a growling, menacing villain who uses a clever name to cover his tracks when doing evil deeds. We’ll spare you the spoiler and have you figure it out for yourselves.
- Short and Sweet: Did we mention we like it when fun action movies have short run times? Because we completely do. Director David Koepp has been in the filmmaking business for awhile and knows that shorter is sweeter. Granted, there are a couple lags that happen in two pockets of the second act but the movie continues to reach the absurd as it trudges along.
- Drama Town, Population This Movie: In the second act, the film takes a nose dive in pace. It mainly has to do with the story behind the envelope that Wilee is holding. When you setup a movie as a lighthearted, action flick you don’t expect it to get so heavy on the drama. There are all sorts of interweaving layers having to do with Nima that makes it a pinch more complicated than you’d think. It doesn’t have to be like that. Just establish a simple motive that’s still poignant to her character, thus giving our lead more motivation to fulfill the task given to him.
- Koepp Behind The Camera: Don’t get us wrong, we absolutely adore David Koepp and what he does, but a lot of his directing style feels restricted. That’s probably because for over half of the film, the main character’s on a bike. There’s only so much you can do, while filming somebody racing around a city. Still, it was entertaining for what it was.
- Let Us Not Forget The Story: Sadly, even though we had a ton of fun watching this movie, the story is just there. For the most part, the film plays as a huge chase. While we like that, there isn’t much else going on past the surface (as much as the script tries to cover up that fact). That’s why the middle of the film tries to turn into something more complicated when it doesn’t need to be.
While Premium Rush is a bundle of wacky fun there isn’t enough to make it memorable on a grander scale. It will more than likely be a flash in the pan at the end of this summer season.
The Rating: 6/10
Premium Rush opens in theaters August 24.
Will you be seeing Premium Rush this weekend?