Speed trap 

'Premium Rush': fast paced, dull-witted.

click to enlarge 'PREMIUM RUSH': Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars.
  • 'PREMIUM RUSH': Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars.

The title of "Premium Rush" is only half-right: The rush is here, but the premium part, not so much. This bike-courier chase flick suffers from leaden acting, a too-chipper soundtrack, a too-pat plot and a script without much at all interesting to say. At least it's quick (though even at 91 minutes it feels overlong) and doesn't skimp on the bike-crash stunts. Watching this many people get almost killed in New York traffic will tire you out, but it's at least a respite from the other alleged stuff that transpires.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a Columbia Law grad who couldn't stomach the life of a suit, and fell back on his daredevil bike-trick past to make $80 on a good day zipping around Manhattan. He goes by Wilee — yes, pronounced like the coyote. Why not? "Premium Rush" sends him zig-zagging through busy intersections, leaping on two wheels over fences, clinging to buses, careening down stairs, salmoning his way against oncoming traffic and generally human-cannonballing his way through Midtown on his fixie — no gears, no brakes, steel frame, borderline death wish. This is a Looney Tune stocked with cyclists.

It also swings at and just nicks the urban cyclist subculture at its heart. Wilee's colleagues are semi-plausible as a United Colors of Benetton ad-in-waiting: a spunky Latina ladyfriend (Dania Ramirez), a dashing African-American rival who crows about his own swiftness and ample thighs (Wolé Parks), a crude-tempered dispatcher played by Bombay-born Aasif Mandvi. Together they combine to pick up and then botch a crucial delivery from "Real World" alumna Jamie Chung, who's of Korean descent but playing a Chinese immigrant because after all this is America and here anyone can grow up to be anything.

The stick in their spokes is a ruthless cop named Monday (Michael Shannon) who owes some money around town and bad wants to head off this particular delivery in order to save his own hide. Aside from Gordon-Levitt's credible turn as a cyclist, the only performance here worth remembering is Shannon's. The veteran of Jeff Nichols' "Shotgun Stories" and "Take Shelter" brings his milk-crate jaw and water-colored blue eyes to the dark detective — he's both the hunter and the hunted. While few others among the cast have real chops, Shannon gives the air of a wounded, starving animal that wandered in and started baring its teeth.

Aside from the occasional bad word and the ubiquitous lawbreaking, "Premium Rush" gives off the sanitized vibe of a teen-age heist movie, the sort in which some misfits sneak into trouble and save the day right before the adults realize they were even gone. It's a bit darker than that, perhaps, but not much. Writer David Koepp ("Spider-Man," "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull") also directs, articulately enough. His sense of set-up and climax are better than his grasp of connective tissue; the entire middle of the movie depends on Wilee pushing the plot-reset button and returning the package (which gets enough of an explanation, at least, to barely avoid MacGuffin status). Then: More biking!

Could it all be smarter? Certainly. Will you get see more cyclists crash into cars, garbage cans, pedestrians, or other dangerous objects this year? Not without actually visiting New York.

Film Details

  • Premium Rush

    • Rated PG-13 - Action/Adventure, Suspense/Thriller
Premium Rush
Rated PG-13 · 91 min. · 2012
Official Site: www.premiumrush.com
Director: David Koepp
Writer: David Koepp and John Kamps
Producer: Gavin Polone
Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jamie Chung, Michael Shannon, Dania Ramirez, Aasif Mandvi, Aaron Tveit, Heather Lindell, Lauren Ashley Carter, Darlene Violette and Wayne Stephens

Trailer


Now Playing

Sorry there are no upcoming showtimes for Premium Rush

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Sam Eifling

People who saved…

Readers also liked…

  • The many variations on the Arkansas tattoo

    For at least a decade now, Arkansans — both native-born and transplants — have been choosing to mark their bodies with representations of the Natural State.
    • Mar 21, 2012
  • Little Rock's Iron Tongue goes national

    As far as alloys go, Little Rock's Iron Tongue might seem to have been formed from oppositional elements. You've got members who play or have played in, among others, Ashtray Babyhead, Rwake, Afrodesia, Jeff Coleman & The Feeders, Booyah! Dad and Brother Andy & His Big Damn Mouth. On first blush, those groups might not seem to have much in common.
    • Aug 8, 2012

Most Shared

  • Hot Springs firing range declared a "Muslim free zone" by its owner

    The owner of The Gun Cave Indoor Shooting Range in Hot Springs, Jan Morgan, announced yesterday that she is banning the presence of Muslims in her business. Her reasoning: "Why would I hand guns and ammunition to people whose religion commands them to kill me and my non-muslim patrons?" OK, let's get that lawsuit rolling.
  • Americans for Prosperity sends out hundreds of thousands of mailers with fake voter registration information in North Carolina

    North Carolina's ABC affiliate reports on hundreds of thousands of mailers with false information about voter registration sent by Americans for Prosperity, the right-wing advocacy group backed by the Koch brothers. The official-looking mailers gave the wrong deadline for voter registration and told people to sign up with the wrong state agency. The mailers also gave the wrong office for questions regarding voter registration, the wrong zip code for turning in a voter registration form, and inaccurate information about how people would be notified of their precinct.
  • How the South became dead red

    Good piece in Politico from Stanford sociology professor Doug McAdam on the roots of our modern partisan divide. McAdam tells the familiar story of how the South flipped, as yellow dog Democrats in the old Confederacy abandoned the party in the wake of the Civil Rights movement.
  • Beverly Carter's body found in shallow grave on Highway 5 in northern Pulaski County — UPDATED

    The Pulaski sheriff's office reported early this morning that the body of Beverly Carter, the real estate agent apparently abducted while showing a home near Scott Thursday evening, had been found in a shallow grave near Cabot. The charges against Arron Lewis, her suspected abductor, have been upgraded to capital murder.
  • Mark Pryor highlights Cotton votes against Paycheck Fairness and Violence Against Women Acts

    Sen. Mark Pryor today began what the campaign is dubbing a "Women for Pryor" statewide tour. Pryor is highlighting Cotton's votes against paycheck fairness legislation and the Violence Against Women Act (all together now: the only member of the Arkansas congressional delegation to do so). Pryor was joined by his mother, the former first lady of Arkansas Barbara Pryor, at this morning's event at the Fresco Cafe in Fayetteville. Events will be held across the state to mobilize women in support of Pryor to vote.

Latest in Movie Reviews

Event Calendar

« »

October

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31  
 

© 2014 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation