The Movie Waffler New Release Review - Premium Rush | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review - Premium Rush

Directed by: David Koepp
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Shannon, Dania Ramirez, Wole Parks, Jamie Chung

Manhattan bike courier Gordon-Levitt finds himself being chased by crooked cop Shannon who desperately needs the mysterious ticket he has been hired to deliver to Chinatown.
"Premium Rush" belongs to a different era, a time when Hollywood action movies focused on being dumb fun popcorn flicks rather than the plodding self-involved duds of recent holiday seasons. It possesses an innocent charm, after all it's essentially just "BMX Bandits" for grown-ups. Koepp has obviously picked up a thing or two from his screenwriting collaborations with Spielberg and De Palma, keeping his story simple and easy to follow. There's a plot but it's just a macguffin. There's no superhero having an existential crisis, no questioning of the meaning of life, no overwritten dialogue. Is this really a 2012 Hollywood movie?
It feels like a relic from twenty years ago, the age of "Roadhouse" and "Point Break", movies which knew they were ridiculous and didn't waste time trying to fool us into thinking otherwise. Thankfully it's not filmed like a modern action movie, you can actually see what's happening onscreen. Koepp's camera is constantly in motion but always steady and there's no confusing quick cuts. He wants you to see what he filmed because he understands how to convey thrills. Even the thought of Michael Bay or Timur Bekmambetov filming Gordon-Levitt racing through rush hour traffic on a bike with no brakes is enough to induce nausea. Dialogue is minimal, Koepp is kind enough to show us the details rather than having his characters rabbit on till our brains hurt. He presumes his audience have the ears of geniuses and the eyes of idiots, the way it should be. 
Of his generation, Gordon-Levitt is one of the few American actors who can carry a movie, he's somewhat like Keanu Reeves but with charisma and acting ability. Everyone despises bicycle couriers and Koepp doesn't attempt to make his hero a nice guy. You wouldn't want to spend more than two minutes in his company in reality but onscreen he's engaging, mainly because we don't know much about him so we can place ourselves on that saddle. 
Hollywood could make ten simple fun movies like this for the price of one bloated and pretentious superhero sequel. But they won't.