Movie Review: Premium Rush (2012)

Posted: June 8, 2013 in Drama
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premium rush

Wilee (Joseph Gordon Levitt) is a bike messenger in New York City.  He’s fighting with his girlfriend, Vanessa, (Dania Ramirez) who has started dating Wilee’s rival at the messenger company, Manny. (Wole Parks) Vanesss’s roommate Nima, (Jamie Chung) has given a lot of money to a Chinese gang, leader Mr. Leung (Henry O.)  who gives her a package that must be delivered to Sister Chen (Wai Chian Ho) in Chinatown by 6 P.M. that day.  Nima turns to Wilee to deliver the package.  He accepts the package, but suddenly his life is in danger, not only are Chinese gang member chasing  Wilee, but he is also being pursued by a crooked cop, Robert Monday (Michael Shannon ) and if that wasn’t bad enough, Manny steals the package because the boss of the messenger company Raj(Asif Mandvi) promises Manny more money for delivering Nima’s package.  Do Wilee and Vanessa get the package back?  Does Wilee eva detective Monday?  And does he deliver the package in time?

Premium Rush is not a good movie.  It tries very hard to be Fast and Furious on a ten speed bike, but bikes don’t really lend themselves to breakneck speed action movies.  What’s the audience for this?  Bike messengers?  Lance Armstrong?   The story is too simplistic, there is no real conflict, not enough of one anyway, the characters are morally opaque, neither too good or too bad, which doesn’t help the movie at all, but again it tries to take a page from the Fast and Furious genre of gray-area characters.  The casting, other than Levitt is multiculturalism run amok, there’s a black bike messenger, a Hispanic bike messenger, an Asian girl in trouble.  I’m very cynical of such Benneton or Abercrombie and Fitch casting because I can see producers saying, the Chinese girl will help us sell this movie in China, the black guy will get the black audience, the Hispanic girl will help in the US and South America, and so on.  This movie tries so hard to be hip, that it actually features a scene with a flash mob.  Flash mobs jumped the shark about two years ago, who thought this was a good idea?

Joseph Gordon Levitt, who I like, is stuck reading what sounds like a bunch of unrelated tag lines.  I don’t know why he accepted this movie, Looper, made around the same time, was a much better movie than this one.  Dania Ramirez and Jamie Chung were added to the cast to boost the testosterone levels of teenage guys in the audience, but show little in the way of acting skills, and as many edits as the director tries to make, the action still lags.

Premium Rush.  Don’t rush to watch it.

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