johnlink ranks PREMIUM RUSH (2012)

Fortunately, not every movie strives to be a major blockbuster. I have a soft spot for small, intense thrillers which go on the attack for 90 minutes in a confined setting and with a straight-forward plot. Movies like PHONE BOOTH or ROPE or NICK OF TIME have their place in the world. PREMIUM RUSH is that sort of a niche thriller. It is about the (apparently) dangerous world of bike messengers in NYC, as one particularly unlucky messenger tries to get an important envelope across town in an hour while being chased by a crazy guy. joseph-gordon-levitt-premium-rush I watched PREMIUM RUSH (2012) on 6.18.13. It was my first viewing of the film.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt has a bit of range as an actor. He made this movie the same year as LOOPER. In that film he is a brooding, morose asshat who must learn the meaning of sacrifice. In PREMIUM RUSH he feels ten years younger. He is carefree, bubbly, and easily liked. We aren’t talking chameleon here, he’s still JGL in both, but he has the ability to play a wide variety of types within a relatively open range of ages.

And he always makes interesting movies.

PREMIUM RUSH could easily be called Adrenaline Rush. Once JGL’s Wilee starts getting chased by a crazed cop (the amazing Michael Shannon), the movie just goes and goes. Sure there are some slightly silly diversions, like a race through a park, but the choices on what holds up Wilee’s task are good choices.

The movie relies too heavily on coincidence, without question. This is one of those movies where anyone in New York City (or Asia, for that matter) will likely find the person they are looking for JUST IN TIME! But this isn’t Shaeksepare anyway. This is a fun little movie which asks you to sit back and enjoy the ride. On that level, it is successful.

Shannon doesn’t just chew the scenery, he devours it. It’s like he is making up for years of playing stoic in BOARDWALK EMPIRE by releasing the hounds every second he is on screen. He is just so much fun to watch. This movie needed an over the top villain. He isn’t as dangerous a villain as Gary Oldman’s Stansfield in the PROFESSIONAL (or, LEON if you prefer the French title), but Shannon’s Bobby Monday is equally unpredictable.

This movie is a love letter to the bike messenger sub culture. Is it like this in real life? I have no idea. Frankly, it doesn’t matter. The movie creates a reality and then doesn’t break from it. It’s success is bound in its ability to make the viewer feel part of that culture (those deriding it could certainly argue this point, I suppose). I came in looking for an hour and a half of fun, and that is exactly what I got.



The camerawork involved in following and shooting the bikes was phenomenal. A variety of techniques were used to put us on, around, or near the bikes and they worked effortlessly together to tell a great story.



~ by johnlink00 on June 19, 2013.

11 Responses to “johnlink ranks PREMIUM RUSH (2012)”

  1. The wife and I went “out” for the first time in months last Friday. On Saturday we were both hungover as allgitout so we laid in bed and watched this. I don’t know if it was the hangover or not but we didn’t like this one very much. Great post though!

    • Fair enough! I’ve read from a few different people (including on Shitfest) who felt the same way you did. I’m not sure why I enjoyed it so much. I certainly know it isn’t a great film, haha, but I had fun.

  2. Yeah, this is one I haven’t heard very good things about. Might give it a try purely because of JGL because I adore him.

    • I dug the style of this movie, and I freely admit that I wanted to like it because of JGL. This is probably one of those movies which either strikes you or not. It’s not a matter of ‘geting it’ or anything like that. Just comes down to taste I suppose 🙂

  3. It’s a very, very dumb movie, but some bit of fun as well. I just wish it wasn’t so campy and over-the-top, especially with Shannon. Nice review John.

  4. I’m with you on this one. I thought it was a hell of a lot of fun to watch. Not sure why it has gotten quite so much hate.

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