“Premium Rush” tries its best to glamorize the world of bike messengers with beautifully fit actors, chase scenes through New York City and some cringe-inducing crashes. But the end product is so silly that it reeks of straight-to-DVD quality. The whole time I was watching it I couldn’t stop thinking why Joseph Gordon-Levitt was in this film. Sure, every actor is allowed to have their “for fun” film, a movie they know won’t win awards, but may give them some mainstream cred. Still, Gordon-Levitt shouldn’t have stooped this low.
After a hot streak of films, including “(500) Days of Summer,” “Inception,” “50/50” and “The Dark Knight Rises,” I’m sure he felt like he was due to headline a hit, but this film sadly is far from it. You can almost tell when watching “Premium Rush” that even he knows he made a mistake. There’s no intensity in his performance, and he half-heartedly recites his lines. This is a movie more suited for a hipster type such as Ashton Kutcher or Jesse Eisenberg.
Playing a bike messenger who’s assigned to deliver an important package to Chinatown by 7 p.m., Gordon-Levitt is chased for several hours by policemen, a rival messenger and a man who desperately wants the contents of the envelope he’s carrying. The film uses flashback storytelling to build up the importance of the envelope, but by the time the contents of the package are revealed, the audience has already long stopped caring.
While Gordon-Levitt is phoning it in, the rest of the cast does the opposite and overplays their parts to the point of caricature. Michael Shannon’s performance as the man who chases after the envelope is so clichéd that I was expecting to hear a gangster style “You see?” at the end of each line. Jamie Chung as the Chinese exchange student recites her lines with an accent that can be described as merely generic Asian and turns in the most laughable performance. And you can see Dania Ramirez trying so hard to make her dialogue sound earnest that it comes across as even more artificial.
Sure, there are there are some pretty cool camera tricks and the action is halfway decent at times, ut it’s definitely not worth your money. Stay home and rent “BMX Bandits” instead.
“Premium Rush,” 91 minutes, is Rated PG-13 and opens in theaters today.