Friday, 21 September 2012

FILM REVIEW: Premium Rush


Gotta do a review for this film called Premium Rush that I saw the other day. Got my notes so I'm ahead of the game, might go make a cup of tea before I dive in, yeah.


OK, I'm here. First up, let me tell you how I got here. Well the hubby and I just can't get enough of Michael Shannon, he's just the best person in the universe bar maybe Natalie Portman on my side and Nathan Fillion on his, so we'll damn well go see him do any kind of film under the cinema roof 'cept maybe if it has Katherine Heigl in but he's too cool for that shit. Anyway so, his next film turns out to be a race against time film on bikes in New York City, and he's playing a dirty cop. YES. He will be a great villain. We're in. But the bus doesn't turn up so we decide to walk into town to get to the cinema, gotta make that 6.20pm showing in plenty of time as there might be good trailers right. And then what does it do - it POURS DOWN like the sky's having a party because it's also a Michael Shannon fan or whatever, so we arrive at the cinema soaking wet and cold and then it turns out we are the only people in the entire screen. Someone is bound to turn up during the adverts though, right?


Still just us. This is amazing. I start wondering what would happen if Michael Shannon was the only other person who turned up - would it be terrifying being the only people in a cinema with Michael Shannon or would we be giddy with glee?


Now time for that awful Orange promo for The Sweeney. I almost want that little twat from The Inbetweeners back. In other news, no one is here except for us so we are definitely going to be on our own. Too good. We hang out wet coats on the seats in front of us and everything. 


Time to get down to the basics. Well Premium Rush is the new film from David Koepp, yeah you might know him from such adventures as Panic Room, Mission Impossible and only freakin' Jurassic Park. Skilled at these confined, against the clock stories he's just the guy you want at the helm for a film about a cocky, thrill seeking bike messenger Wilee (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who's been tasked with delivering a special envelope to a specific address before 7pm (not my time, that would be DAFT). A simple enough task, but that envelope contains a ticket disguising as a great deal of money, which is just what Detective Bobby Monday (Shannon) needs to get him out of his uncontrollable gambling habit. Naturally Wilee doesn't want to give it up so easily, and a chase through the car-locked streets of the city attracts the attention of the NYPD - also on bikes - which means Wilee now has two cats on his tail, whilst also having to deal with moody girlfriend Vanessa (Dania Ramirez) and love rival and competitive workmate Manny (Wole Parks). And it's all gonna go down in 90 minutes.


The plot's a little murky, a little clumsy - Underground gangs! Hitmen! The Hawala System! - but the central concept is simple enough: who gets the ticket? And it's lots of fun, a proper popcorn flick. Which is great because we snuck in a whole bag of popcorn. As always with an action movie (it's too breezy to be a thriller) that's subjected to a time frame or one location, the script has to be inventive enough to keep the motivation going and the audience interested. It's one of the longer 90 minute 'sprints' I've had to sit through, but there were definitely areas that worked for me: the disjointed chronology of the time line and filling in each character's back stories was well done, the ongoing interplay between Wilee and the out of luck NYPD cop was well maintained and closed too ("I'm out!") and the general pulling together of all the characters for the climax. Koepp is adept at this and pulls it off in entertaining style here, with strong echoes of Danny Boyle with use of lots of whizzy techno devices - locating destinations, street view, plotting alternate routes - this was Google Maps just showing off (take heed, Apple). Enjoyed the in-traffic slow motion breakdowns too, as Wilee analyses which is the safest way to weave through the cars. He has this knack to always finding a way out - until he runs out of options.


An usher comes in to check on us. We're behaving ourselves, right!


Where the film dragged and let itself down - the relationship stuff with Wilee and his girl was boring, and an extra layer that could have made the editing room floor - or if he needs to have a girl let's cut the angst at least.  The actress who played Nima, the girl who gives Wilee the ticket to set off the chain of events, was a tad soggy. The drama lacked intrigue too, as you always knew the outcome would end safely. Not to say I wasn't holding my breath in places, especially when Wilee and Manny race through Central Park - an exhilarating sequence. I can't believe these guys didn't break more bones! Speaking of which..


... Joseph Gordon-Levitt is strong as ever here, in a role which he actually filmed a couple of years ago such is the dusty shelf life of this film's distribution. He had the right blend of tenacious annoyance to be this character - arrogant in places, but with his heart in the right place. Impressive he did the majority of his own stunts too - watch out for the VT in the end credits where he proudly holds up an arm gushing with blood which would need several stitches.


But as with any down to the wire film, let's leave all the best bits til last. MICHAEL SHANNON! This is the most entertaining I've ever seen him, and the most lively too - refreshing to see him resting his tormented inner demons after the likes of Take Shelter, Bug and Boardwalk Empire (which is back on HBO this week, folks! Sell those irons! What a great poker face!). Loved his frustration, his little ticks, his inner monologues bubbling out of his mouth as he desperately pursues Wilee on his bike - could just imagine him uttering "whyieyesya!" and shaking his fist. His rant to Wilee in the ambulance van about "language today" and his offence at the insult "SUCK IT!" - which Wilee smugly retorts back to him later in the film - was just brilliant. His insane laughs, his bug eyes... he's just so god damn watchable. Can he be in all films please? He would be a great dwarf in The Hobbit. It was lucky we were alone in the cinema as plenty of times I was stamping in delight at his antics! It just wasn't his day, and poor Michael Shannon when he gets flash mobbed by kids on their bikes and his comeuppance by a Buddha Milton from Office Space.


Film ends. Gotta get the bus. Feeling damp and slightly sorry for ourselves. Grinning from ear to ear about the Shannon. Pretty solid. It's gonna get an extra cheese for ol' mad eyes. We rush down the escalators...


NO WE MISSED THE GOD DAMN BUS AGAIN. Imma calling a taxi on this god damn travel nonsense.


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