Friday, August 24, 2012

 

Premium Rush

Premium Rush Unfortunately, the Olympic Game is over. Otherwise, the Olympic committee might have given a gold medal to Joseph Gordon-Levitt if they saw his skillful and spectacular cycling performance in director David Koepp's fast-paced entertaining thriller "Premium Rush" (USA 2012 | 91 min.). But no worry, surely he will be hailed as a hero by the politically influential bicycle coalitions, because the film shows just how awesome to ruthlessly race bicycles on busy city streets.

The film's protagonist is a cool dude named Wilee (Joseph Gordon-Levitt). After law school, he doesn't want to sit behind a desk in suits and tie. Instead, he chooses to be a bicycle messenger streaming through the chaotic traffic in New York City.

Every delivery seems a hair-raising adventurous ride when he navigates between taxis and pedestrians, either following or against the traffic flow, and either obeying or ignoring traffic laws. Apparently, that intense physical demand is no challenge for Wilee, he can multitask by arguing with his bicycle messenger girlfriend Vanessa (Dania Ramirez) on a cellphone while pedaling. Everything seems a breeze, literally. Speed limit? What's that?

That breezy sail hits a hurdle, after Wilee picks up a mysterious envelop from Vanessa's roommate Nima (Jamie Chung). The delivery route heading to New York City's Chinatown becomes a thrilling ride between life and death. Not only Wilee miraculously escapes from a bad cop Bobby Monday (Michael Shannon) chasing him in a police car, he also comical eluding a clumsy cop (Christopher Place) chasing him on a police bicycle. In between, he engages in a raged race with a romantic rival Manny (Wolé Parks).

The ride is nothing short of spectacle, definitely beats the Olympic game.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt  and Michael Shannon in Premium Rush

Director David Koepp sleekly crafts several impressive bicycle chase sequences in the middle of busies streets in New York City. Along the way, he skillfully assembles pieces of a big puzzle together, up to a point about halfway into the movie, when it's time for him to fit the most important piece of the puzzle—why is that envelope so crucial for all the chasing around?

That very piece seems nowhere can be found, yet the puzzle must be solved. So the film comes up a far-fetched piece, which doesn't quite fit, into the big puzzle. Besides a stereotypical portrait of Chinese people, the cause for igniting all the madness in the film is simply ludicrous.

However preposterous the story finally becomes, the puzzle is nevertheless completed, and the thrill is delivered handsomely. The audience is entertained and awed by how terrific the race is.

In the end, there seems one clear message Wilee and his pals delivering on their bicycles—it doesn't matter why they rush into the traffic or what's in a package; what truly matters is how they put on a show on busy city streets. That is exactly what Critical Mass has been doing.

"Premium Rush," a Columbia Pictures release, opens on Friday, August 24, 2012 at Bay Area theaters.


Comments:
Nothing new that we haven’t seen or heard before, but it still has some fun with itself, even if the writing really takes away from it. Nice review Tony.
 
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