Reviewed by: Russell Emory
dishonest policeman / dirty cop
|Featuring:||Joseph Gordon-Levitt … Wilee
Michael Shannon … Bobby
Jamie Chung … Nima
Dania Ramirez … Vanessa
Aaron Tveit … Kyle
Aasif Mandvi … Raj
Gavin Polone … producer
Mari-Jo Winkler … executive producer
|Distributor:||Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures|
“Ride like hell”
“Premium Rush” is at its core a chase movie, however, unlike many chase films, this one involves bikes. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Wilee, pronounced like the famous Warner Brothers cartoon coyote, and the joke is used throughout. Wilee is believed to have a death wish, being as though he rides a bike with no brakes and only one gear. Based on the reactions of many of the messenger characters in the movie, this is highly unusual and either is respected or considered foolish.
Joining Wilee on this ride is on-again off-again girlfriend Vanessa (Dania Ramierez—‘Entourage,’ ‘Heroes’), Rival messenger Manny (Wole’ Parks), Vanessa’s roommate and Wilee’s former classmate Nima (Jamie Chung—‘Grown Ups,’ ‘Hangover II’), Wilee’s boss Raj (The Daily Show’s Aasif Mandvi), and Detective Bobby Monday (Michael Shannon—‘Boardwalk Empire’). The main idea of the movie is that Wilee must get an envelope given to him by Nima from point A to point B; however, many obstacles arise along the way in the form of Detective Bobby Monday.
Wilee is delivering a package for Nima across town. He encounters Monday, who is also seeking the ticket to settle a gambling debt. Monday and Wilee literally begin to play a game of cat and mouse through the streets of New York City over the course of ninety minutes. Along the way, through flashbacks and side dealings with secondary characters, Wilee begins to put together the puzzle of what is in the envelope and what it means to others.
Being a chase movie, there is a lot of violence and action. Most of the stunts are performed by the actors. Gordon-Levitt received 31 stitches as a result of a stunt accident during filming. Some of the action may be disturbing, as there are simulations of cars hitting or, in one case, running over people. This would be disturbing for many, but the idea is that, in these situations, Wilee is determining which route to take, and the simulations are him going over his best case scenario.
If I were scoring the sex in the movie on a scale of one to ten, this would be a three. There are a few comments, but they really don’t push the limits of PG-13. The language, however, is a little much; there is an f-word, almost 50 utterances of the s-word, and 17 occurrences of what I will call religious profanities (GD, JC, Lord’s name as explicative). There are also 2 obscene gestures between characters and 14 occurrences of mild profanity (D, H, A).
There is not much spiritually in this movie. One Chinese character tells the other that Buddha be with them, but it was almost like someone telling someone “may the force be with you.” It was a blink, and you could miss it in a moment. There is also a scene where simple ideas of Buddhism and Taoism are debated, basically a small three line debate about determinism and cause and effect. There is no mention of God or Jesus, outside of profanities, and that may be an issue for many.
Wilee is intent on doing what is right. He is convicted by his conscience when he discusses with Nima, later in the movie, what exactly is in the envelope that she gave him. When he learns what the content of the envelope, and its purposes, are he does whatever he can to keep Det. Monday from getting them. I would tell you what is in the envelope and its purpose, but that is one of the little plot twists in the movie.
Overall, “Premium Rush” is a decent film. Maybe a more appealing film to bicycle enthusiasts, but I left the theater wanting a little more, partly because most of the action movies this summer have been on the level of over-the-top to epic (“The Avengers,” “The Dark Knight Rises,” “Expendables 2,” and “The Bourne Legacy”). The other reason is that the plot is very simple. The flashbacks help provide the backstory for the characters, and it was a nice touch by David Koepp the director. “Premium Rush” is a simple action movie, but it didn’t thrill me like the previews promised. I guess I have been spoiled.
I’m not going to say “go see this movie” or “don’t go see this movie.” I have simply presented the content and leave the decision in your (the reader’s) discretion. I will note that Michael Shannon has a big role in next summer’s “Man of Steel”; so many Superman enthusiasts may want to see this actor before that film.
Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Mild
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.