Premium Rush (2012) review

“A fast-paced, high-octane ‘Rush,’” 3.5/5 stars

Carl J. Bachus | Collegio Reporter

Sports cars are usually the vehicle of choice for action films, so there’s plenty of skepticism to throw at David Koepp’s bicycle-theme summer offering, “Premium Rush.” I can’t speak for anyone else, but an action movie on bikes seems like a bit of a stretch. Surprisingly enough, the film moves quickly and is chockfull of admirable performances.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt (“Inception,” “The Dark Knight Rises”) is Wilee, a fearless New York City bike messenger tasked with getting a package from point A to point B in an hour (note: premium rush). Soon after he receives the envelope, he finds himself being hunted by Bobby Monday (Michael Shannon, “The Runaways”), a dirty NYPD cop in deep trouble with the local Chinatown mafia.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt ("The Dark Knight Rises") is "Wilee" in Sony/Columbia Pictures' "Premium Rush."

Joseph Gordon-Levitt (“The Dark Knight Rises”) is “Wilee” in Sony/Columbia Pictures’ “Premium Rush.”

“Rush” is predictable enough but incredibly fun, thanks in no small part to the performances of the two leads. If Gordon-Levitt can’t do anything else, he can play your average guy and change things up enough to never let it get old. Michael Shannon, however, is an entirely different beast. He’s able to bring a bit of humor to what would have been, in any other actor’s hands, a rather dull character. Shannon brings his character actor’s sensibility to the role turning the clichéd dirty cop role into one of the film’s more positive factors. Dania Ramirez (“X-Men: The Last Stand”) and Aasif Mandvi (“The Daily Show with Jon Stewart”) round out the cast with commendable performances.

Despite the lack of heavy machinery, “Rush” is filled with enough high-octane action to keep the audience’s interest for the absolutely perfect 90-minute runtime. There’s no over-complication of the story and the audience will never get bored. The film moves at breakneck speed and manages to keep its thinnish plot afloat for the entirety of the runtime. The special effects, nothing compared to “Transformers” or “The Avengers,” served their purpose and offered more than a few laughs throughout the film. The only issues that I had were two of the supporting roles, Nima (Jamie Chung, “Sucker Punch”) and Manny (Wole Parks). Chung’s accent was a bit over the top and quickly becomes irritating enough to take you out of the film. Parks, however, was just annoying, popping in and out of the film like someone trying to tell the same bad joke.

“Premium Rush” is a fun, fast-paced thrill ride with some effective special effects, impeccable pacing and a charismatic cast. It’s not perfect, but it’s a fun finale to an otherwise mediocre summer movie season.

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