It’s all Christopher Nolan’s fault that Premium Rush
star Joseph Gordon-Levitt is now an action man. The
once geeky kid of 3rd Rock
From The Sun fame was doing just fine as an indie-king in films like Mysterious Skin and Brick before Nolan let Levitt go all zero
gravity in Inception and then all
caped-crusader in The Dark Knight Rises. Throw in Rian Johnson’s Looper and Gordon-Levitt is the new Matt Damon of everyman action
hero. Premium Rush is considerably less highbrow than those other titles
but it’s still a fun little adventure nonetheless.
Wilee (Gordon-Levitt) is a bike courier on the
busy streets of Manhattan. He’s an
extreme adrenaline junky whose bike has no gears and no breaks, just him and
the road. But while he dices with
death every day in the New York traffic, today he’s bitten off a little more
than he can chew. Taking delivery
of an envelope he finds corrupt cop Bobby Monday (Michael Shannon) will stop at nothing to get what’s inside the
package and so begins a cross-city game of cat and mouse.
Over the top and
more often than not utter nonsense, Premium Rush is shot with more energy than
Sonic The Hedgehog. As Wilee races
through the streets he’s able to go all Terminator on the world around him, analysing
the best routes through dangerous traffic in order to keep himself alive. Add to this the cartoonish nature of
the characters; Wilee is named after Wile E. Coyote, and Premium Rush is
intended to be a bit of forgettable fun.
And that’s exactly what it is.
David Koepp, one of Hollywood’s hot-shot writers having penned the likes of
Jurassic Park, Mission Impossible and the upcoming Jack Ryan, isn’t trying to
make you think, he’s taking you on a thrill ride with just enough
tongue-in-cheek moments to offer a wink to the stupidity of the situation.
If there is any
doubt as to the whacky races style on offer here, Michael Shannon’s performance
swiftly puts it to bed. All
bug-eyed and larger than life, his Bobby Monday is essentially Yosemite Sam
from the Looney Tunes, jacked up and desperate to catch the wascally wabbit
that is Gordon-Levitt. Throw in a
comedy-cop on a bike who is unable to get close to Wilee and you have the
receipt to a formulaic but fun romp.
Gordon-Levitt is clearly enjoying his bike ride but is never really
asked to do much more than look sweaty and act cocky.
won’t make you think but it will take you on an express delivery bike ride
through the death-trap streets of New York City. No breaks and all.