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Premium Rush—movie review

Reviews
by Leonard Maltin
August 24, 2012 1:31 AM
2 Comments
  • |

I don’t know how a film this entertaining and expertly-made can show up the last week of summer, but I’m not complaining. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, whose fine work in indie films like The Lookout went ignored by most moviegoers, has finally achieved stardom, and this flashy tale of a bicycle messenger who follows his own playbook is an excellent vehicle for his talents—no pun intended. He trained hard to look believable on that bike, and it shows.

Screenwriter and sometimes-director David Koepp has fashioned a sleek, satisfying movie that never wastes a moment and doesn’t wear out its welcome. (It’s just an hour and a half long.) Like its hero, who rides a no-frills, steel frame bike without brakes, Koepp uses visual razzle-dazzle—and superb second-unit work on the streets of Manhattan—to make his picture cool and contemporary, but he and his writing partner John Kamps are men of experience who know how to tell a good story. That’s what sets this adrenaline-charged movie apart from so many brain-dead action films.

Despite some ingenious visual effects, the director swears that all the hair-raising bicycle stunts we see were performed on camera and not tweaked by CGI. They certainly look real, if not downright impossible at times, which is a big part of the fun.

The movie flips back and forth in time, using shorthand to introduce exposition and backstory in an unconventional way. It’s fresh and clever, but never pretentious, as this is all in the spirit of fun.

Gordon-Levitt is effortlessly credible, on and off the bike, as is the always-riveting Michael Shannon as a cop who’s determined to catch the wily messenger and retrieve the envelope he’s carrying. Dania Ramirez is a good match for Gordon-Levitt as his girlfriend who also speeds around the city.

I don’t think you’ll find any subtext or layers of meaning in Premium Rush, but I do think you’ll have a great time watching the picture, as I did.

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2 Comments

  • Ben Anderson | September 2, 2012 9:23 AMReply

    Definitely not a smash hit, too bad for Joseph Gordon-Levitt. I am more and more of a fan of his with every movie I see. My coworker at Dish said they saw Premium Rush this weekend and really enjoyed it. I want to wait until it comes out on DVD because even though I’m a big fan after reading this review and the synopsis, I’m not sure it will be one of my favorites. I’ve added Premium Rush to my Blockbuster @Home queue instead of going to the theater to see it. When Premium Rush is released, it will be delivered to my door automatically. When I’m done, I drop it off in the mail or take it to my local Blockbuster store and swap it for another movie. This may not be Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s best movie, but it really does look good.

  • mike schlesinger | August 27, 2012 11:16 PMReply

    A really swell film...and it flopped. Apparently the action crowd prefers its pictures "brain-dead." What a damn shame.

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