“Premium Rush” (2012): say it ain’t so, Joe.

17 January 2013

Count this as my biggest disappointment of the year. The preview was great. What a terrific idea, I thought, to develop an action movie around bike messengers in New York City. And then there’s the fact that it stars my secret boyfriend, Joseph Gordon-Levitt. How wrong could I be?

premium-rush-2Let me count the ways:

The premise is nonsensical and kind of racist. It’s populated with mysterious Chinese, incomprehensible money-exchange policies, and patronizing Orientalism to last a decade. (Joseph, darling, you went to Edward Said’s Columbia University. How could you?)

Showcases the geography of New York City streets only to get that geography all wrong, which is obvious to anyone who knows it. And hello, a lot of people know that geography. The worst is when he leaves Columbia University (at 116th St, we’re told explicitly) to head downtown, yet he then spends a lot of time dodging the bad guy underneath an elevated train trestle, French Connection style (which is uptown starting at 125th St). Director David Koepp has said he wanted to make this a “map movie, where you see this guy who has to get from here to here” — well, criminey.

Speaking of getting NYC wrong, I’ve never seen the city with so little traffic and so few red lights. Guess what time of day, precisely, the film takes place? 5:30pm to 7pm. [Bangs head against wall.]

Total waste of Michael Shannon as the bad guy. Yes, he is tall a crazy-mean looking. Yet the backstory is soooo boring.

Really? The helpless girl motif? Don’t get me started.

Joseph Gordon Levitt

Now, I still like this premise. I liked some of the action scenes. And oh, that Gordon Levitt — he sometimes puffs out his chest as if to make himself seem larger, but his real magic consists in moving with the grace of Gene Kelly. If only he’d been enough to save this stupid script.

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2 Responses to ““Premium Rush” (2012): say it ain’t so, Joe.”

  1. JustMeMike Says:

    Great catch of the flawed geographical continuity.

    When I first read this, I thought of a possible route Wilee might have taken to find himself beneath the overhead transit line. And that would have been to cross 110th Street heading East to pick up the Amtrak Northeast Regional line which goes above ground at 97th Street and Park Avenue.

    But Wiley did not go across 116th St, nor 110th Street, nor did he take the Park Traverse Road at 96th Street. So your catch is absolutely correct.

    • Didion Says:

      I wouldn’t be so huffy about it except that he’s always pulling out his GPS and showing us exactly what route he’s going to take. “A map movie,” as the director said. ARGH.

      I also could have overlooked it if the rest of the film really kept me engaged rather than slightly annoyed.


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