Premium Rush

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premium rush

Michael Shannon (right) is one of my favorite actors working today.

This movie couldn’t have had better timing. Lance Armstrong was stripped of all his Tour de France wins, and star Joseph Gordon-Levitt played Robin in the latest Batman. And I can’t fault him for wanting the big paycheck in a cheesy chase film. The guy deserves it. He’s shown some great acting chops in some interesting films (see The Lookout and 500 Days of Summer).

Early on in the movie when we watch how bike messengers ply their trade, I couldn’t help but dislike the cyclists for their attitudes. Now, I have all the sympathy in the world for folks that have to dodge cabs, pedestrians, pot holes, and everything else. It’s just hard to sympathize with a guy that purposely doesn’t have brakes on his bike, and his girlfriend, who is fond of taking a chain to cars that don’t use their mirrors.

You probably gathered from the commercials, the plot involves Levitt picking up a package (a “premium rush” job), and the bad guy wants it. We end up getting backtracking with the previous days and times, much like we did in 500 Days of Summer. Also similar to that film, he doesn’t want to wear a suit to a job at a law firm. He’d much rather ride like the wind. (Wow. In a review where I could’ve used the great Pink Floyd or Queen bicycle songs, I went with Christopher Cross).

One of my favorite actors these days is Michael Shannon, and casting him as the bad guy was brilliant. I’m just not sure why they made him talk like a gangster from a 1942 black and white movie.

I did love the boss, played by Aasif Mandri (a Daily Show correspondent). He really showed the hustle and bustle of the work place, and wasn’t a cliché bad-guy boss, just somebody that cared about the job and his employees.

I didn’t care for Daria Ramirez (American Reunion), who seemed to be channeling Rosie Perez with that annoying voice.

Writer/director David Koepp (Jurassic Park, Ghost Town) gave us some great chase scenes. It was like watching bicycle versions of The French Connection, and you think more of that film than the Kevin Bacon bike movie Quicksilver from the mid-‘80s. The movie did have that ‘80s fun feel to it, and I thought that it was interesting that they pulled this off – the opposite of the filmmakers of Hit and Run who didn’t.

Audience pet peeve #47 popped up. That was the inappropriate laughter. It happened a few times in this, one time when a good cop is pursuing Levitt on his bike and crashes. What’s funny about that?

My friend also brought up a good point. At one point, we’re forced to root for illegal immigration.

The cinematography by Mitchell Amundsen was outstanding. It put you right behind the handlebars of the riders. If you don’t look at all the pot holes…I mean plot holes…you’ll enjoy this ride. I am guessing I’ll prefer Levitt’s other films this year more (Dark Knight Rises, Looper, and Lincoln).

This gets 2 stars out of 5.

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