Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Premium Rush (2012)


Wilee loves his job as a bike messenger. He rides his bike--fixed gear, no brakes--through the streets of New York City with absolute fearlessness. And in a city full of taxicabs, buses, and angry drivers, that's no mean feat--especially since bike messengers are on the top of everyone's hate list. A bike messenger has to fight just to stay alive, let a lone to get his package to the destination on time. It's a hard job--and it just got harder. Wilee's latest delivery is more than it seems, and there's a dirty cop who's determined to get his hands on it. Will Wilee be able to deliver the envelope, or will the dirty cop turn our hero into roadkill?

Allow me to say: I really like Joseph Gordon-Levitt. I never saw 3rd Rock from the Sun, but 10 Things I Hate About You is among the better rom-coms, and Looper was an above-average action flick. But where he really won me over was in Brick--an enthralling modern noir mystery, with Gordon-Levitt at the center as the Sam Spade/Philip Marlowe/Humphrey Bogart character. If you haven't seen it, you should.

All of which to say, Gordon-Levitt seems to be handling the transition from child star to respected actor with a good deal of skill. Though handsome, he is no heartthrob, yet he consistently gets good (and interesting) roles in both indie productions (like Brick) and blockbusters (Looper and The Dark Knight Rises) and here headlines his own  'action' film. There is a likable, everyman quality to Gordon-Levitt. You feel like you might know him, or guys like him. He's sharp, but not necessarily a full on nerd. Fit, but not bulging with improbable muscles. Competent, but not a superman. With so many 'hunky' stars on the market, Gordon-Levitt may find himself in the happy position of having his pick of 'regular guy' roles. He is believable, in a way that the Hollywood hunks simply cannot be. And this movie is no exception; he does a great job with the role of Wilee, the daredevil bike messenger who may not be a hero in real life, but who will be darned if a crooked cop is going to bully him and steal his friend's envelope.

As films go, Premium Rush is nothing remarkable, though Michael Shannon is a hoot as the ridiculously incompetent (yet kind of scary) dirty cop. Then, too, the concept of a bike-and-car chase is a creative spin on the high speed chases we've seen done time and time (and time) again. But if you're looking for a fun way to kill a couple hours, you could do a lot worse than this fun flick.

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