Friday, August 24, 2012

Premium Rush [2012]

MPAA (PG-13)  CNS/USCCB (L)  Roger Ebert (3 1/2 Stars)  Fr. Dennis (3 Stars)

IMDb listing -
CNS/USCCB review -
Roger Ebert's review -

Premium Rush (directed and cowritten by David Koepp along with John Kamps) is a film about a New York City subculture (that of bicycle couriers) that I'm positive would annoy many residents/commuters.

On the other hand, I've known a fair number of cycling enthusiasts -- sometimes, while always nice people, they've bordered on being fanatics;-) -- that I went to the theater happy to enter "their world" for a while and to enjoy the ride.

The plot is clearly thin: Ace bicycle courier nicknamed Wilee (after Wiley Cayote from the Warner Bros. cartoon and played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is given what would seem to be a typical job -- carry an innocuous looking letter from one end of town to another.

However there are some surprises right from the start.  The client, turns out to be the quiet, studious Chinese roommate (named Nima and played Jamie Chung) of his girlfriend Vanessa (played by Dania Ramirez).  Vanessa also worked as a bike courier (on the side) but her main job was being a student (as of course was her roommate).  In fact, early in the movie it was clear that Wilee and Vanessa had something of a recent falling-out.  Vanessa had just graduated law school and bike-couriering/adrenaline junkie Wilee had missed her graduation.

Early one afternoon, Nima calls Wilee and Vanessa's South Asian dispatcher Raj (played by Aasif Mandvi) asking specifically for Wilee to run this letter, from her office at the university on one end of Manhattan to Chinatown near the other end.  Why did he choose him?  Well, from what she heard from Vanessa, "he was the best."  Much ensues ...

Among that which ensues is that almost immediately after receiving the letter and dutifylly putting it in his courier bag, someone, a man in his 30s-40s (played by Michael Shannon) wants the letter.  This man stops him right as Wilee leaves the Nima's building and asks for the letter (giving some story along the lines that he's actually the one who's supposed to receive it anyway).  Wilee responds AS ANY 20-SOMETHING with this kind of job would respond: "You see, sir, once I receive a package and put it in my satchel, I don't give it to anyone until I deliver it to the address requested," and leaves.  The man proceeds to chase Wilee first by foot and a few minutes later shows-up behind him in a car.  A chase then ensues ...

What's going on?  Well, I'm not going to say more because to do so would take away from the story, except to say that the story itself, while at times poignant/touching, is really beside the point.  What we viewers get in this movies is the opportunity to watch an hour and a half of some really, really cool bike-riding on the busy streets of Manhattan.

We also get a sense, in as much as bike couriers really cycle like this all over the streets of Manhattan of why these bicycle couriers would probably be hated by both motorists and pedestrians over there.  Still to more sedentary film critics the cinema-world over, THE SHOTS IN THIS FILM ARE JUST AWESOME.  Yes, Wilee, Vanessa and Raj work for a "Premium Rush" courier service.  However, just watching the film honestly gives one a rush as well!

So kids, PLEASE DON'T DO WHAT'S SHOWN IN THIS FILM.  The crazy cycling in the film is done by true stunt cyclists who know what they're doing.  On the other hand, I do have to say, THE FILM IS REALLY, REALLY COOL ;-) and anybody who's ever liked cycling or known a cycling enthusiast/fanatic before would certainly enjoy this film!  Good job folks!


A specialized "niche" film like this inevitably brings the question of how many other "bicycle" films are out there.  A list is of such films, ranging from the Neo-Realist (and very sad) post-WW II Italian film, Bicycle Thieves [1948] to Spielberg's ET [1982], was compiled by the good folks MassBike Online and is given here.

<< NOTE - Do you like what you've been reading here?  If you do then consider giving a small donation to this Blog (sugg. $6 _non-recurring_) _every so often_ to continue/further its operation.  To donate just CLICK HERE.  Thank you! :-) >>

No comments:

Post a Comment