Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Premium Rush Movie Review - Kenneth Vasquez

Time to switch gears, Premium Rush

 movie review by Ken Vasquez

Way back in 1986 a little film titled 'Quicksilver' took a stab at the then growing bike messenger sub culture. That movie, now considered by some a cult classic, featured Kevin Bacon as a former stock broker savant who after he looses his lucrative job finds himself employed in a bike delivery company. There he proceeds to re-evaluate his life all the while riding around the inclined streets of San Francisco.

'PREMIUM RUSH', the new film by writer/director David Koepp (Stir of Echoes, Secret Window), shares only one similarity with Kevin Bacon's cyclist opus and that's the part where individuals with promising careers take a lesser job, this time bike delivery, and in the process they seem to find more fulfillment than before. That's where the similarities end cause 'PREMIUM RUSH' is not a highly thematic drama, but rather a well paced and written chase/crime thriller.

Joseph Gordon Levitt (The Lookout, Inception, 50/50, The Dark Knight Rises), who's currently on a successful roll with parts on some notable blockbusters, plays Wilee, a former law school student who forgoes his bar exam and instead becomes a bike messenger in the ever expansive streets of New York City. His day gets really complicated when, not only does his girlfriend, played by Dania Ramirez (X-Men: The Last Stand, Heroes, Quarantine), tries to dump him, but a dirty cop (Michael Shannon) relentlessly follows him because of a mysterious envelope he's carrying.

David Koepp knows how to direct action and deliver interesting and compelling characterization at the very same time. As the characters make their way around the labyrinth like corners of the city, back story on how they reached their respective points is revealed. This movie is in constant motion and it only slows down to give the story more girth not necessarily to give it a break. The plot unfolds with a chronology that explores the narrative from everyone's point of view, from hours prior to an event right down to It's very intense final minutes.

Levitt's character of Wilee navigates through the congested streets with a precognitive like sense, more like experience, that he has honed in order to get around. A look here and there and he can discern weather to make a safe and skillful right turn or get slammed by a car. Manhattan is without a doubt a character itself, specially when a GPS like view is employed to depict Levitt's many destinations. Levitt is awesome at being witty and interesting at the same time and this role showcases his range.

Michael Shannon (Machine Gun Preacher, Boardwalk Empire, Take Shelter) continues his streak of intense and strong performances as a cop with violent tendencies and a bad gambling problem. His fall into despair and utter madness is both amusing and jarring. Dania Ramirez is by no means the token girlfriend or a damsel in distress. Here she's as capable, resourceful and dedicated a cyclist as anyone else and pretty much the voice of reason to Levitt's character.

'PREMIUM RUSH' may have fallen through the cracks of the post summer movie season but with a solid cast, frenetic chases and a cool narrative it's only a matter of time, and a DVD, before this package reaches a wider audience. Hey, if Kevin Bacon did it then why can't Joseph Gordon Levitt?