Scene It All Before: Bike Riders Are The Worst

By: Zach Stone / Karson & Kennedy Producer
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Courtesy of Sony Pictures Publicity

“I live my life how I ride, no gears, no brakes,” This is just one of the lines that come out of our protagonist’s mouths.  But how could you possibly be rooting for any bike rider after living in the city for as long as anyone has. Bikers are  the bane of both city drivers and walkers, full of hipsters, weaving in and out of traffic, running red lights whenever they feel.  Bikers are the worst.  I’m sure you my biker reader are a perfectly fine human being, but as soon as you hop on that bike you become my sworn enemy.  How could you possibly root for a biker, even with a lead character that is so usually dynamic as Joseph Gordon Levitt.  Here he is not asked to do any kind of acting he just needs to keep moving because “if you stop, you die.  That’s how I live my life.”  Ugh this is just the worst kind of character.  Premium Rush is a fully ridiculous chase movie that doesn’t go anywhere and doesn’t do it all that fast but is mostly just inconvenient because they think they are better than red lights.  This movie is a lot like bikers, it is just the worst.

Joseph Gordon Levitt plays the character Wilee, beyond praying that this is a nickname and not a parent’s attempt to pigeon hole a child into growing up to be a complete d-bag.  While he excelled at law school, he chose not to take the bar because wearing a suit at this age scares him.  That part I get, hey I’m in radio I feel the same way.  But that really is the depth to his character.  I have no idea what JGL is doing in this movie, he’s been on such a roll in all his movies and only getting better and better.  Here they just seem to want him to be an urban surfer which tries to elevate bike messenger-ship to an art form and a way of life.  And besides Michael Shannon that may be the character with the most depth.  All he is really asked to do is pedal faster.

The supporting cast mostly speaks in out of breath gasps, which is understandable as all they do is ride their bike all day.  So it is hard for any of the younger actors to gain any kind of connection with the audince.  The only actors of any kind of note are Aasif Mandvi as Wilee’s dispatcher who is getting a knack for a being a d-bag who can dish out one liners and Michael Shannon.  Shannon plays a corrupt cop who is trying to get his hands on a package that Wilee is delivering.  Shannon also seems to be the only actor who understands how ridiculous the premise of the movie is and allows his character to be over the top in his villainy.  All the other young actors from his girlfriend, to the girl he is delivering the package for, to his rival in the company who just wants to prove he’s faster with his gear shifting bike, because obviously this movie has a character who is just there to be a jerk, provide very little to the movie.

The movie isn’t about the actors though, its about the action.  At the heart of this project it is a chase movie.  Cops, rivals, time, they all are after Wilee, which is weird since it was usually the coyote chasing the road runner, but that is besides the point.  He is chased by both less skilled bikers where the main threat are pedestrians and opening doors, and then there are cars as well which have the advantage of not being able to go everywhere a bike can especially in a grid locked New York City.   It is just like a movie full of car chasing except you know without all the speed and drama of car chases.  Director David Koepp uses New York effectively as a backdrop for the movie.  The most distracting feature though is when he digitizes his movie by putting a clock of the screen, or using a map to show the route he needs to take it really takes the viewer out of the action.

This is nothing substantive to Premium Rush.  And the all the chase sequences are slower and more annoying to watch then any chanse sequence out there now.  And the whole movie is just that, a bunch of slower chase sequences.  At a brief 90 minutes it still feels like a bike ride over all of New York City would still be more exciting.  The over the top acting of Michael Shannon may be the only saving grace of the movie and that is only if you like over the top ridiculousness.  In fact that’s a great way to describe this movie: ridiculous.  D

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