The Score: "['Premium Rush' Is] A Nonstop Chase, Full Of Blown Schemes, Slipped Traps & Madcap Humor"

Friday, Aug 24, 2012 12:00PM

Written by Cyrus Langhorne

Watch Trailer
  • Premium Rush
  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt
  • August 24, 2012
Screen Rant 3/5
Star Ledger 2/5
New York Daily News 4/5
Roger Ebert 3.5/5
AV Club 3.5/5

If high-intensity and fun are what you are searching for entering the weekend, then look no further than the new Joseph Gordon-Levitt-starring action flick Premium Rush to help give an adrenaline boost to your next 48 hours.

Gordon-Levitt's latest film since winning fans over in this summer blockbuster's Dark Knight Rises casts the Hollywood star as a bike messenger in New York City.

In David Koepp's hugely entertaining thriller Premium Rush, Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as a bike messenger named Wilee, nickname "Coyote." Right up front, Koepp is telling the audience what kind of movie they're going to get: a nonstop chase, full of blown schemes, slipped traps, and madcap humor, in the spirit of a Roadrunner cartoon. Only Gordon-Levitt isn't the Wile E. Coyote in this scenario. (AV Club)

The film relies on a supporting cast of talent including former "Entourage" actress Dania Ramirez and "Boardwalk Empire" star Michael Shannon.

Wilee (think WILE-E), played by Joseph Gordon-Leavitt, lean and intense, is said to be the best bike messenger in Manhattan, which is why Nima (Jamie Chung) asks for him. She needs the ticket delivered to a woman who will make a crucial call to China. Also in need of the ticket is a rotten cop named Bobby Monday, desperately played by Michael Shannon, whose gambling debts have him in mortal peril. The movie's first chase inv?olves Wilee's bike and Monday's unmarked police car. (Roger Ebert)

Director David Koepp utilizes unique story-telling techniques to help drive the plot.

Just as the narrative will (literally) pull viewers up and down Broadway in an exhausting will he/won't he storyline, the tone of the film moves recklessly between manipulative emotional beats, eye-rolling lines of dialogue, and some pretty disturbing fits of violence. The sharp changes in tone are further complicated by a Vantage Point-like flashback mechanic of winding back the clock to show a connected scene from the perspective of an entirely different (non-Wilee) character. It's a necessary evil here, since Wilee's portion of the narrative doesn't really begin until 5:00pm - whereas three other plot arcs begin earlier in the day. However, just because it's necessary doesn't mean that the flashbacks create a successful flow or tone to the overall proceedings. (Screen Rant)

The flick serves as Koepp's latest with past works including box office hits.

Filmmaker David Koepp is a mainstay in Hollywood, having worked on "Jurassic Park" and "Spider-Man," among others. Projects he writes (or co-writes) and directs himself, such as "Ghost Town" and "Secret Window," come off sort of bland. This is the type of movie you might expect Gordon-Levitt to crank out on an assembly line if he hadn't yet established himself beyond "Third Rock From the Sun" and become the scene-stealer of "The Dark Knight Rises." (Star-Ledger)

While praised by many, some movie critics took aim at the flick's ending and overall plot.

One could easily draw conclusions about the extended incubation period of "Premium Rush," as the film was shot almost two years ago. The ending, however, stinks of reshoots, a disastrous denouement that suggests the production quickly ran out of money and time. Worse still, it's an ending that runs counterintuitive to the chase narrative, slowing down right when the production should be ramped up. Just as the film is about to deliver it's package, it sends the viewer an I.O.U. instead, botching two-thirds of what may be Koepp's most entertaining film as a director. (Indie Wire)
By wholeheartedly embracing the fast-paced courier world, Koepp employs a number of style-over-substance choices that can muddle the tone of the film, but do payoff in the long run - helping Premium Rush differentiate itself from similar thriller movies. Ultimately, the main story beats will be extremely familiar to regular moviegoers, but the fixed-gear, no brakes, bike messenger covering will likely be enough to make the experience somewhat fresh and memorable. The twists and turns (of the story) are easy to see coming, but a few solid performances and some eye-popping practical bike stunt work should provide interested viewers with a middle-of-the road rush that's a bit short of "premium." (Screen Rant)

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