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Tanya Khoury: A pointless ride
September 28, 2012
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David Koepp, the director and writer known for The Lost Word - Jurassic Park, Mission Impossible, Spider-Man and many more from that action genre, brings us Premium Rush starring Joseph Gordon–Levitt. It is a fast paced thriller or so I was led to believe. The tag line is “Ride Like Hell” so they really had no excuse. I rarely, absolutely rarely, opt for the action flick at the cinema and to be honest the only reason I went to see this one is because I thought it would have a different flare – cyclists roaming the streets of New York, with some sort of thriller twist lingering around, captivating no?

No, not in the slightest, I should have gone with my instinct and continued on the path of the “no action films’”, period. Regardless, when there is popcorn there will be a film.

The story begins with Levitt’s character as law student turned bicycle messenger who has got the skills. Wilee is the man with no breaks literally, spending all his days on the streets perfecting the art of not crashing. The plot begins smoothly as we are introduced to the characters and the art, skill and dedication it takes to perfect the job at hand. We are also introduced to the antagonist, a sleazy detective (played by Michael Shannon, Boardwalk Empire’s Agent Nelson) with a gambling problem and his only way out is the ticket Wilee is on his route to deliver.

That is as far as getting into the plot as it goes, this is what the viewer gets – these characters chasing each other all around New York, one in a car and another one on a bicycle, for one hour and a half. At one point I felt so tired from all this cycling that I needed to go outside and get some water. The packaging of the film is great, the look and feel, the cyclist’s bird’s eye view of the city and the way it has been filmed looks pretty nice on screen but that is what the film has going for itself. The subplots get very jumbled up during the film and you end up following more than one character’s story with no real significance to the plot as a whole. I am not asking for too much here and am very well aware that this is an action film, but please don’t place a label like ‘thriller’ on it – the thrill of the fast bikes, yes that lasts for 15 minutes; you can’t bank on the viewer’s interest in seeing a person on different streets over and over again.

There is no story beyond what unfolds in front of you and nothing has been left for the imagination. It felt like a statement meant only for bicycle messengers and how they could use different tricks to go faster and what not. The writing was shockingly weak and I just felt very disappointed with all of it and that feeling turned into resentment. Now that I rethink I just never want to see an action film for a long time. My mind boggles that a lot of people liked it though; I went out of the cinema hearing ‘ya it was cool’ and ‘I liked it’ comments and I am convinced that all those people belong to a cycling cult and have a secret code of some sort.

I don’t recommend seeing this film in the theatre; wait for it when it gets on your local movie channel, and popcorn always helps. 4/10 just for showing me New York, who doesn’t love that.
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