Nothing to rush out for. Premium Rush gets points for going against the grain as a race against the clock bike messenger action movie set in New York City. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, with a buzz cut and constant flushed skin tone, looks the part of our bike messenger hero. Whizzing through traffic, director David Koepp uses graphic cursors to point his multiple-choice routes. More clichéd is Michael Shannon as a gambling junkie attempting to intercept the message that translates to a lot of money. It’s a rather simple plot but it often doesn’t make much sense. To its credit, the movie doesn’t slow down for too long.
The client is Jamie Chung whose job is it to act immigrant Asian – she has family back in Taiwan whom she has paid to boat over. Gordon-Levitt, as Wilee, stops at nothing with getting Chung’s envelope across town in 90 minutes because when it comes down to it, it’s his code of honor. Two other bike messengers, played by Dania Ramiriz and Wole Parks, eventually assist Wilee after he must ditch the cops. The three messengers also have something of a love triangle going, and there’s also – in this one day happenstance of events – a speed race through Central Park.
Pleads are made between parties that could have been cleared up in a jiff if clearer language was used (employ a lie like, “It’s drug money, pull over!”), but that would put an end to some of the asphalt racing. The biggest howler is of course this: HOW COME JAMIE CHUNG NOT DELIVER NOTE HERSELF? Excuse me for not using proper grammar, my mind is running a mile a minute.
“Premium Rush” is a decent enough time killer. But in the words of Jean-Luc Godard, every cut is a lie. Many of the shots in Koepp’s film run about four seconds. This shoulda been the “French Connection” (1971) of cycle movies, but it is cuts too fast.
91 Minutes. Rated PG-13.
ACTION-ADVENTURE / RACE AGAINST THE CLOCK / WEEKEND AFTERNOON
Film Cousins: “Breaking Away” (1979); “American Flyers” (1985); “Quicksilver” (1986); “Run Lola Run” (1999, Germany).