Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Premium Rush (2012)

Seen: On our projector set-up, streamed from Miles' harddrive.

So now we come to Part Two of our New Year's Eve double feature, I just didn't feel like combining it into one post. Premium Rush is another 2012 movie I missed in theaters, and we were excited to watch it mostly because Michael Shannon is so great (and of course I personally was looking forward to Joseph Gordon-Levitt doing... anything). Taking place over the course of about 90 minutes during rush hour in Manhattan, the film follows Wilee (Gordon-Levitt), a skilled but reckless bike messenger, as he transports a mystery envelope across the city to Chinatown. A sadistic police officer (Michael Shannon) with a large gambling debt wants his cargo, and pursues him in a ridiculous chase involving car crashes, flashbacks, many broken traffic laws, and one really pissed off bicycle cop. Fellow bikers Vanessa (Dania Ramirez), his ex-girlfriend, and Manny (Wolé Parks), his competitive coworker, are along for the RIDE of their LIVES.

With a quickened pace and an eye for the preposterous, Premium Rush is just the right kind of mindless fun that you'd expect in a bike messenger-themed action/thriller. It's got slick zooms of everyone's different routes, time stamps that mark the flow of different subplots/flashbacks, plenty of spills and collisions, and just enough narrative to keep me interested. The cast is almost as nonchalantly diverse as the Fast and the Furious movies, which is pretty cool, but of course Michael Shannon stands out in his villainous role, chewing every piece of scenery he can get his hands on and donning this strangely high-pitched voice. Gordon-Levitt is cute and cheeky, and rocking some cargo shorts, but I wanted more of Dania Ramirez.

Sure, sometimes it tries a little too hard to be "cool" but for the most part Premium Rush doesn't overthink it. It's good, dumb (but not STUPID) entertainment, reminiscent of "simpler" times when a movie could just be people driving or riding around for an hour and a half. Like, Hal Needham could have probably made this movie only it would have had more Burt Reynolds.

4/5

Pair This Movie With: The only other movie about biking that comes to mind is The Triplets of Belleville, which is amazing but would also be a big shift tonally/stylistically. For another over the top chase movie, perhaps Vanishing Point or Smokey and the Bandit? Or even The Terminator!

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