Saturday, 12 October 2013

FILM: Premium Rush (5/10)

Why did I watch it?
Nothing specific here really. Wasn't fussed in seeing this at the cinema or on DVD but when it was on TV I thought I would check it out. Fact - director David Koepp is the fifth most successful screenwriter of all time in terms of domestic box office receipts, according to Wikipedia.

What's it all about?
Thrillseeking New York bike messenger Wilee (Joseph Gordon Levitt) is the man at the centre of the action when he collects a delivery that a desperate and corrupt cop (Michael Shannon) is willing to chase him all across NY to get his hands on. 

Should you watch it?
Premium Rush wants to play out like a modern day Speed, cat and mouse adrenaline fuelled chase with no brakes. Literally in the case of the protagonist Wilee's fixed speed bike, which deserved it's own credit considering the number of references to it. Unfortunately, Rush combines a basic premise, strengthened by a non-linear timeline, padded out with a contrived plot about Chinese nationals with what in places is an awful script, full of cheesy clichés. Clichéd adrenaline junkies spouting lines such as 'brakes are death' or 'this is the most fun I've had with my clothes on' really didn't help me to relate to any of the main characters. Koepp breaks up the action with graphics of the riders locations, displays of timers counting down as well as pausing time to allow the riders to consider and play out the options open to them when their most obvious route is blocked. These devices are effective but can't save the film from it's weaknesses. 

Michael Shannon is one of my favourite actors but here his bug-eyed expression combines with the bad lines resulting in a really cartoon villain. Shannon chews the scenery hard to make up the material but the result is only unintended amusement for the audience. Despite this Shannon is still watchable as always.

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