Premium Rush

20 Sep

Fifteen hundred bike couriers populate Manhattan making deliveries on a daily basis. Among them, an ex-law student Wilee (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who works for a delivery company named Security Courier finds himself more at home on a brakeless fixed-gear steel-frame bike than behind a desk doing a 9-to-5 job. For his last job for the day, Wilee picks up an extremely important package that brings him face to face with a twisted NYC cop, Detective Bobby Monday (Michael Shannon) ensuing a game of cat and mouse.

A refreshing change from big budget sequels or remakes, Premium Rush may run short on a meagre script but rides high on adrenaline. Director and co-writer, David Koepp films the scenes on the streets of NYC with a lot of in-your-face camera work, putting you in the thick of the action or in this case, the seat of the rider. Even though CGI seemed to be on a shoe-string budget, the way it is used doesn’t detract us from the action but adds a nice twist to proceedings and even sometimes leading to some comical conclusions.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Wilee & Michael Shannon as Bobby Monday

The bike is (literally) treated as part of the support cast and watching the film’s protagonist work his way around the city was entertaining. Also the choice of not following a chronological path made unravelling the back-story a wee bit more interesting. On top of all that, the film was perfectly paced and kept distractions to a minimum which in effect kept the runtime to just 91 minutes. Typical with such films, further scrutiny of the script and screenplay leads us to some unwanted plot twists and odd dialogues but thanks to that relentless adrenaline rush, one tends to be more forgiving.

Dania Ramirez as Vanessa & Wolé Parks as Manny

Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Wilee is pleasing to the eyes. With not a very demanding role, his performance was believable even though quite a few scenes involved a stunt double. Dania Ramirez as Vanessa was by far the weakest performance I’ve seen by a female lead for a very long time. Wole Parks as Manny was a waste of screen time while Aasif Mandvi as Raj played his role quite decently.

Jamie Shung as Nima

Jamie Chung as Nima was impressive thanks to the authentic feel she had, especially with what sounded like a proper accent. Her subdued performance blended well with what her character was about. Michael Shannon as Bobby Monday was the pick of the actors. His over the top impulsive antics as a desperate cop were fantastic and he embodied the character to perfection. Christopher Place as the bike cop was extremely entertaining.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Manhattan in the film is seen in a way one doesn’t see often. There was no glitz or glamour, nor the usual crops of landmarks littered around the city, and one wasn’t overwhelmed with gritty dark alleys either. That difference and simplicity of the point of view was nice to see for once. The film may not have a jaw-dropping effect on you but that’s why you should watch it. It reminds us that good films can be made out of a simple concept.

7/10

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