Film Review: Joseph Gordon-Levitt Peddles Clichés in ‘Premium Rush’

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CHICAGO – We’re looking for cowboy heroes in America, and a new film contends that the urban bike messenger could represent that long lost persona. This unlikely theory is the basis for “Premium Rush,” and it features Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Shannon, Aasif Mandvi and Dania Ramirez. Oscarman rating: 3.0/5.0
Rating: 3.0/5.0

The life of a bike messenger in this film involves a parallel universe of the adrenaline junkie riding the plane, nobly following a code that is unwavering to money, authority and the laws of gravity. “Premium Rush” is riddled with archetypes like the twitchy dispatcher, the over-competitive rival, the wise old messenger and the hates-him-until-she-loves-him relationship. Actor Michael Shannon adds a bit of weirdness to the conventional story, but it’s not enough to overcome the soft narrative veneer that pretends to be high octane. It may be the first high octane film that has the ability to induce sleep.

Wilee (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is first introduced flying through the air on his way down to a kiss with the pavement. His messenger bike has just been smashed by a New York City vehicle, and he is shown in slow motion about to experience the fall. The story then reverses itself, to expose how he got in this predicament, and who is involved in it. When you live fast on the streets of NYC with no braking system, something is bound to happen. And what happens had to do with a peculiar delivery.

Wilee is given the assignment by his dispatcher Raj (Aasif Mandvi) to deliver an envelope from a college on one side of New York City to Chinatown on the other side, 90 minutes away. He is stopped in that pursuit by Bobby Monday (Michael Shannon), who turns out to be a desperate NYC cop. He needs what is in the envelope, and chases Wilee virtually through the city. To make matters worse, Wilee is being harassed by his rival Manny (Wolé Parks), and is on the outs with his girlfriend Vanessa (Dania Ramirez).

“Premium Rush,” opens everywhere on August 24th. Featuring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Shannon, Aasif Mandvi, Dania Ramirez, Wolé Parks and Jamie Chung.. Screenplay by David Koepp and John Kamps. Directed by David Koepp. Rated “PG-13”

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Premium Rush”

Joseph Gordon-Levitt’
Man Versus Traffic: Wilee (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) in ‘Premium Rush’
Photo credit: Sarah Shatz for Columbia Pictures

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Premium Rush”

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