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Just about everyone knows someone who has been bullied, in ways big and small. Understandably, though, many victims are reluctant to speak about their experiences. We found some who aren't.
By Ellen Pham, tb-two* movie critic
A movie about a bike messenger doesn’t exactly sound like box office magic, but Premium Rush is surprisingly entertaining despite being restrained by its simplistic plot.
Director David Koepp, known for working on hit films such as Jurassic Park and Spider-Man, brings the same suspense from his previous work to Premium Rush. However, you won’t find many computer-generated action sequences in this movie. Joseph Gordon-Levitt did the majority of his own scenes, so you can “ouch” and “yikes” at every one of his bloody bruises, cuts and falls knowing the pain is authentic.
The film is set in New York City and begins with Wilee (Gordon-Levitt) lying on his back in the middle of a busy intersection after a nasty crash on his bicycle. A woman tries to see if he is conscious while yellow taxicabs surround them both. From there, the movie reverts to the past to show how Wilee ended up there.
Wilee was a former law student who gave up the suit when he realized he could get paid to ride his bicycle. Fixed gear. Steel frame. No brakes. Can’t stop. Doesn’t want to, either. It’s that risky mentality that certifies Wilee as the best bike messenger in the city — and daredevil with a death wish to his friends.
Wilee is assigned to deliver a package to Sister Chen in Chinatown. Soon after Wilee picks up the package, he is confronted by Bobby Monday (Michael Shannon), an NYPD officer who initially lies about his identity. Bobby tells Wilee he needs the package, but Wilee slyly denies his request. The disgruntled police officer does everything he can to chase Wilee down.
The movie is fast-paced and provides interesting perspectives. Wilee has to calculate his moves while riding to ensure he survives the hectic streets of New York City. Koepp cleverly uses effects such as an interactive map along with arrows to help the audience visualize the bike routes.
The movie features intense chase scenes between Wilee and Bobby, but that’s pretty much it for the story line. The plot barely scratches the surface of the characters, which makes it difficult to connect with them, and gaps leave the audience confused at certain points. Premium Rush delivers the thrills but with little substance behind them.
Gordon-Levitt, one of Hollywood’s most prominent young actors (The Dark Knight Rises and the highly anticipated Looper), does not disappoint in Premium Rush. He plays the role of rebellious, adrenaline junkie Wilee with the perfect amount of zest and ego. But the film’s hidden gem is Shannon, whose heinous laugh and aloof demeanor make Bobby Monday the villain you love to hate.
Ellen Pham is a junior at Chamberlain High.
Grade: ***, 3/5 asterisks
Director: David Koepp
Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Shannon, Dania Ramirez, Jamie Chung
Run time: 91 minutes