Sunday, October 14, 2012
Premium Rush: Brakes are Death, but so are Taxis
If you haven't seen Premium Rush, the movie starring Joseph Gordon Levitt as a bike messenger who ends up with a priceless package, you are not alone. The movie debuted modestly, and has since hit the dollar theaters. While I won't pretend it was an absolutely incredible story, I enjoyed the film for embracing its identify as a high stakes car chase story with bikes replacing cars. If anything, it made the tricks and skills all the scarier knowing that no metal or steel or even plastic protected the body of a biker from slamming into cars, people, and the cold hard ground. Its star Joseph Gordon Levitt got in some nasty scrapes while filming, as seen here.
Levitt stars as Wylie (Yes, like the Coyote), a young man who refused to take the bar, opting for life as a struggling bike messenger on a bike with no gears and no brakes. Wylie claims that "brakes are death," and speaks of donning a suit to go to work as if it were a suit to go into the grave. He is unbelievably reckless, but handles his bike as if it were a third leg, plotting and weaving the streets of New York with a mind capable of calculating risks in an instant. The plot of the film picks up when Wylie is given an envelope to deliver. This envelope contains a ticket to a great deal of money, causing a corrupt and truly over-the-top cop/villain with serious debts to pay to go after Wylie. The chase begins, churning and accelerating the film with interesting shots and fancy moves. There were a few moments when the chase became a little tedious and the plot felt a little more suited to an episode of a USA show, but overall it was an entertaining ride I would recommend renting on Bluray or DVD.
Though Premium Rush was at its core a cheesy action film, it did pose a loose philosophical question. In life aren't we all pedaling without breaks? Keeping on swimming? Always moving forward like Wylie feels he must? If we simply stop, we are stagnant or dead. While I don't think it is wrong to be a little safer than Wylie (avoiding hitting taxis and pavement) or put on a suit and go to work, I do appreciate his attitude even if I don't agree with it totally. If we steamroll through life, we may miss out on people, places, and moments that deserve a little peace and slowness. We should move forward, but not to run away from life, but to run into it. I think I put more thought into the movie than I should have. I'm stopping now. Enjoy the movie for its simple fun dodging taxis and pedaling to the end.