Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a bike courier delivering a dangerous package in Premium Rush.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a bike courier delivering a dangerous package in Premium Rush.

Reel Reviews: Chase film is a tour de force

Premium Rush, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, is fast, funny and fun.

  • Aug. 31, 2012 1:00 p.m.

Wylie, (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a New York bike messenger with one fixed gear, no brakes, a master’s degree, and a death wish.

When he discovers the value of a particular envelope, a dirty cop with a gambling debt (Michael Shannon) obliges Wylie’s preferences for living life dangerously.

Detective Monday wants that package at any price.

All Wylie wants is to survive his delivery.

We say, “It’s fast, funny and fun.”

TAYLOR: I had no real expectations for this film, I was pleasantly surprised. It was exciting, realistic and surprisingly funny. For the most part, Premium Rush is simply a 90-minute chase film, not unlike a Road Runner cartoon, (beep-beep.) Instead of getting crushed by boulders or falling off cliffs, Detective Monday simply can’t go where Wylie can on his bike.

HOWE: And some of the things he does on that bike, I’m sure would break the wheels, but who cares? It certainly lives up to its tag line: “Ride like hell.”

TAYLOR: Joseph Gordon-Levitt does a fine job in the film, peddling like a madman. I’m sure some of the stunts were done by professional riders. However, I think Michael Shannon steals the show. He’s so strange and angry.

HOWE: I agree, both did a very good job. I think we can safely say Gordon-Levitt will get more leading roles in movies now. He’s more than capable of holding his own. Do you know what Premium Rush did to me Mr. Taylor?

TAYLOR: What’s that?

HOWE: I wanted to put on my cycling clips, click my Walkman on, and sing, “I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike…”

TAYLOR: Well, that sounds like something you would do. I disagree with you on Gordon-Levitt finding leading roles based on this one. He’s simply young and fit. The role didn’t require anything special, other than the ability to ride a bike.

HOWE: Yeah, I agree, but that hasn’t stopped Keanu Reeves landing leading roles, so why would that hinder Gordon-Levitt? He seems to be in that similar mould, but less of our bickering… What I liked about this movie was the fluidity of it. It moved along at a nice pace, even though it has non-stop chase scenes it didn’t seem messy, like some just recently.

TAYLOR: If you’re saying that Keanu could have played this role (20 years ago), then I agree. If you are saying that there are actors of similar calibre, it’s only because you haven’t seen 50/50. Gordon-Levitt can act, Keanu is just… Keanu. I did, however, enjoy the non-linear format of the film. By telling the story out of order, it gives the audience the chance to solve the mystery along with main character. The pace was fitting the film and although I did tire a bit of shots of legs pumping, this movie works.

–– Taylor gives Premium Rush 3.5 stitches out of 5.

–– Howe gives it 3.5 bent coppers out of 5.

The film is currently showing at the Galaxy Cinemas in Vernon.

–– Brian Taylor and Peter Howe are The Morning Star’s movie reviewers, whose column, Reel Reviews, appears every Friday and Sunday.