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Capone believes that if you can't have fun watching PREMIUM RUSH, there is something seriously broken inside of you!!!

Hey everyone. Capone in Chicago here.

It's an interesting coincidence that the bike messenger action film Premium Rush is opening the same week as Hit & Run, a movie that might work better for you if you turned your brain off. And while Premium Rush might seem like the type of film where a brain in the off position might improve the experience of watching it, the truth is leaving it on might result in a heightened movie-going experience that came as a complete and welcome shock to me. And the primary reason for the greatness of Premium Rush is one Mr. Michael Shannon, as a dirty detective who uses the alias Forrest J. Ackerman quite frequently throughout the film.

Shannon is full-bore nuts in this movie, and he turns what could have been a cliche-driven character into something wonderfully twisted and funny. Shannon's character is trying to get a ticket that is worth quite a bit of money for reasons that aren't worth going into, because frankly, they don't matter. When Nima (Jamie Chung) calls her roommate's New York City bike messenger boyfriend Wilee (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), to pick up the ticket and deliver it to Chinatown as payment, he is immediately chased by Shannon relentlessly.

Wilee's portrait is painted very quickly. He almost went to law school, but the idea of being cooped up in an office wearing a suit day after day stopped him from going, and he became a messenger. His retrofitted bike has no hand brakes and only one gear, and he has the split-second ability to see multiple routes through any tricky traffic situation and select the one that will be the least dangerous to him. His girlfriend, a fellow messenger named Vanessa (Dania Ramirez), is mad at him for missing her graduation because he was racing, so we know Wilee is impulsive to a fault. And I know it seems remarkable that Gordon-Levitt is even in this b-movie material, but when you see the film, it makes sense. This is a movie about smart guy doing a dumb job (in terms of his safety) versus a dumb guy doing a job that requires a brain.

Director and co-writer (along with John Kamps) David Koepp aren't even content to make their deceptively simple little movie a linear story. The timeline jumps back and forth to reveal interesting details about this little piece of paper and what it represents. But see, the story of the ticket isn't really that important. What's significant is just how badass these messengers are, winding their way through New York traffic (both standing and moving, vehicles and pedestrians).

There are plenty of death-defying stunts, but the real threat to these messengers in the couple-hour window in which this film takes place is Shannon's character, a desperately messed-up guy who needs that ticket so people he owes money to don't kill him. You kind of feel for the guy because he's so damn entertaining to watch, but he's also a large-caliber prick. However you slice him, he's by far the most entertaining thing in this movie.

Usually this late in August, studios are simply dumping unwanted films into the ether to ready their award-season contenders, but Premium Rush is no dump job. It's 90 minutes of unstoppable action, humor and actors clearly having a ball. This has been a summer where many of the films I most anticipated let me down; so it's nice to know the year still has a surprise or two waiting in the wings. Premium Rush is a metric shit-ton of fun that makes no apologies for anything it may or may not contain. Enjoy the hell out of this one, folks.

-- Steve Prokopy
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Readers Talkback
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  • Aug. 24, 2012, 5:21 p.m. CST

    I find the lack of Expendables reviews to be odd aswell

    by RedBull_Werewolf

    I know Aids patient Jon Ary posted a review but did anyone else, Harry hated the first one cause he fell alseep or Was just in a pissy mood (see his TDKR review) but did he like the sequel?

  • Aug. 24, 2012, 5:29 p.m. CST

    It's almost as though the headline is talking to another reviewer on this site....


  • Aug. 24, 2012, 5:30 p.m. CST

    Yes the Kidd didn't like this..76% on Rotten Tomatoes

    by Rupee88

    I like JGL and Shannon so would give it a shot but doesn't warrant a trip to the theater.

  • Aug. 24, 2012, 5:35 p.m. CST

    Wheres the Expendables 2 reviews? Not even Raven McCoy has an opinion?

    by kindofabigdeal

    Harry must be blocking the negative ones from his site. I heard it was fun from word of mouth.

  • Aug. 24, 2012, 5:56 p.m. CST

    BTW, here are 2 Expendables 2 reviews from this site

    by art123guy

  • Aug. 24, 2012, 6 p.m. CST

    If a=b and b=c, then a=c

    by The Llama

    So something is seriously broken inside The Kidd. My guess? His pretentious douchebag gland can't stop producing obnoxiousness.

  • Aug. 24, 2012, 6:11 p.m. CST

    Mr. Michael Shannon will be the best thing in Man of Steel

    by Mikeyeieio


  • Aug. 24, 2012, 6:26 p.m. CST

    Harry's Expendables 2 review will be up just a soon as he

    by CountOrlok

    finds 100 synonyms for AWESOME in his thesaurus.

  • Aug. 24, 2012, 6:27 p.m. CST

    I'm psyched

    by MattDomville

    ...about the potential sequel:

  • ...just,you know...."TURN YOUR BRAIN OFF".

  • Aug. 24, 2012, 6:49 p.m. CST


    by The_All_Dead

    My wife just made me a sandwich made of bird shit and used tampons,it didnt look very good but once I TURNED OFF MY TASTEBUDS ill be dammed if it wasnt a great tasting guys know what im trying to say right? right?

  • Aug. 24, 2012, 6:49 p.m. CST

    Capone says..Kidd has no soul in 450 words

    by paul burnett

    sucky teen romance can suck my middle aged balls..

  • Aug. 24, 2012, 6:59 p.m. CST

    Here's why I don't intend to see this

    by CherryValance

    The minute I saw the trailer my only feeling was that he should just give him the damn envelope. Messenger tidbit. Back when I lived in NYC I was walking on 5th avenue and there was a bus parked and yellow tape and what looked like some kind of oil going down the gutter. I asked a woman what was going on and she said "That bus just ran over a bike messenger." It wasn't oil.

  • Aug. 24, 2012, 7:33 p.m. CST

    trust capone way more than the kidd

    by jsfithaca

    maybe ill see this but i def gotta see expendables 2 first. also i know this has been mentioned by other people but WHERE THE FUCK ARE THE EXPENDABLES 2 REVIEWS?

  • Aug. 24, 2012, 7:40 p.m. CST

    Michael Shannon

    by bernardshakey

    One of the finest actors of recent times

  • Aug. 24, 2012, 7:50 p.m. CST

    Michael Shannon

    by bernardshakey

    Don't want to go on about the guy, but watch Just watch Take Shelter to see an acting master class.

  • Aug. 24, 2012, 7:54 p.m. CST

    arcadian - wtf are you on about?

    by Maxer

    Are you referring to per-screen average? Yeah, I'll discuss how a movie playing on 169 screens in predominantly Republican areas during an election year of an incumbent Democratic president will make good per-screen money. It's expanding to 1000+ this weekend.. should bring things back down to Earth a little bit. But by all means, continue the conspiracy theory thing. This movie makes $20 mil, tops.

  • Aug. 24, 2012, 8:16 p.m. CST

    Still waiting for J Chung & D Ramirez naked

    by gun_will_travel

    But I'll probably see it anyway

  • Aug. 24, 2012, 8:31 p.m. CST

    But does Michael Shannon surpass his excellent work in Groundhog Day?

    by Adelai Niska


  • Aug. 24, 2012, 9 p.m. CST

    About The Id vs.

    by DarthInfidel

    Pretentious douchebag doesn't begin to cover this guys reviews. Where Harry can't filter every brain tickle, this guys fear of letting go and expressing an original personal preference practically guarantees a " list of things no one should like about this"type review every time.

  • Aug. 24, 2012, 9:15 p.m. CST

    Michael Shannon

    by bernardshakey

    Is he the guy that Philip buys tickets to wrestlemania for him and his wife?!! I did not know that. Love him even more!!

  • Aug. 24, 2012, 10:19 p.m. CST

    This movie is not good.


    Capone, I'm not sure how you can give this a pass but tear MIB III apart. There's some nice action, but there's also a whole lot of terrible supporting performances and the narrative is just stupid. The climax of the film is a BIKE MESSENGER FLASH MOB. The movie is basically "Step Up" with bikes and two leads that can actually act.

  • Aug. 24, 2012, 10:38 p.m. CST

    500 Days of Messages

    by banditmania


  • Aug. 24, 2012, 10:47 p.m. CST

    John Ary

    by Diggnan

    Redbull_werewolf, calling John Ary an "AIDS patient" is real classy. You're an asshole.

  • Aug. 24, 2012, 11:15 p.m. CST

    Lacking a serious villain

    by Jeff

    If Premium Rush had a truly ruthless villain, it would've been a lot better. I like Michael Shannon alot but all he does is chase him and curse under his breath. There's no sense of true danger. When there's no danger, it's hard to take the movie seriously. Now all you have are empty chase scenes with some good bike stunts. Could've been alot better.

  • Aug. 24, 2012, 11:25 p.m. CST

    Speaking of Expendables 2......

    by Clio

    I saw it, enjoyed it and had a good time at the theater. Parts of it made no sense at all, but that's beside the point. The point was to see all those old action stars that I watched back in the 80's get together and have fun...and they threw one-liners left and right, many of them straight from their old movies. And even the music in places came directly from some old action film. It had good humor, mindless violence and carnage (as we hoped) and I don't see how someone who loved these guys way back when would be disappointed with this one. Here's one example of the way-over-the-top action: At the last shootout of the movie at an airport there about 50-60 bad guys heavily armed against our small ragged band of heroes. Well, our heroes killed about 300 of them. Yep, you read that correctly....they fought 60 but killed 300. Ah, nostalgia.

  • ..This truly is the best and most just of all Talkbacks.

  • Aug. 25, 2012, 12:51 a.m. CST

    CANT WAIT... TONIGHT.... going to the movies

    by Micah fendley

    Gonna see Premium Rush, I have not been this fired up for a movie all summer. Well ok... Moonrise Kingdom was a home run times infinity. BUT I seen that one already.. This is a new thrill boyeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!

  • Aug. 25, 2012, 5:35 a.m. CST

    Capone can't be trusted

    by jah_kingdom

    I've gone to see movies that he liked and regretted it. He likes everything. I'm still pissed at having watched Benjamin Button. That movie was so fuckin boring. I like the original better - Forrest Gump.

  • Aug. 25, 2012, 7:26 a.m. CST

    The reason the ticket is important is critical

    by Hipshot

    Otherwise all you have is disconnected stunts. The woman trying to be reunited with her child, the ticket allowing her to smuggle him out of China gives motivation, creates the ticking clock, and provides clarity as to the stakes involved. Look, there are those of us who understand the bond between a mother and child, and the sense of honor and empathy, and the sense of ego that allows someone to say "I'm the best, dammit, and I'm going to prove it." The simplicity of those emotions drives the movie. Otherwise--why not just hand the envelope over? The Kid completely missed the meaning of the race through the park--the character did it to try to get the envelope. Which was important for his own ego ("I'm the best") and to save the child ("children are valuable") oh, and to impress his girlfriend. Very clear motivations, and at least 76% of the world (judging by RT) understands them completely.

  • Aug. 25, 2012, 7:44 a.m. CST

    I loved this movie... back when it was called "Quicksilver"...

    by The Bunglermoose

    ...and starred Kevin Bacon. I'll probably check it out on Blu-Ray, but thinly-veiled remakes bug me more than actual remakes.

  • Kept seeing the cover art on Netflix, which at first glance makes it look like a bit of a different movie than it really is. I put the movie on expecting possibly a siege/shelter thriller, but it turned out to be a fairly quiet drama about a family man trying to deal with his apocalyptic visions. Really great acting from Michael Shannon and that redhead chick from The Help who gives me such a boner... I try not to refer to IMDB every time I can't remember an actor's name. It will come to me... the reason I stuck with the movie is because, as someone on IMDB said, here is a movie wife who is taking her vows seriously! Jessica Chastain, that's her name. One of the best Hollywood actresses working today for sure. So yeah, Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain. Both names to watch for (most people already knew about Chastain... what a fucking hottie!)

  • Aug. 25, 2012, 9:14 a.m. CST

    Ultratron's review of Planet Hollywood 2:

    by UltraTron

    The opening scene is.. I was doubling over with laughter during the entire opening. Pretty much a must see for the opening. It's a videogame movie with end level bosses. Arnold says he'll be back. Stallone is much bigger than Arnold now. Stallone wins. If you want more than that you are in the wrong movie.

  • the fuck is that?! A fucking blu without uncompressed audio. If it happens again I'm busting Netflix down to instant only

  • Aug. 25, 2012, 11:44 a.m. CST

    hahahahaha at The Kidd

    by freak2thec0re

    even the other writers on the site are exposing your pretentious stupidity for what it is

  • Aug. 25, 2012, 1:03 p.m. CST

    this is no dump job

    by Waka_Flocka

    errr...yes, that's exactly what it is. this was meant to be out a long time. there were reshoots (i think) and now it's been released in the hope of getting some trickle down viewings from JGL's performance in TDKR. this whole review sounds like you were paid to do it capone. shame on you.

  • That being said, Premium Rush was fun with cool bike action and better than deserved performances by JGL and Shannon. The script made no sense though. No bike messenger is going to risk his life for an $80 per day job. SPOILERS: At one point Shannon is chasing JGL in his car through NYC. It's rush hour, but he seems to be able to follow JGL in a car no matter where he rides. Ridiculous. Then a bicycle cop shows up, and what does JGL do, Wave him down and say "This psycho is chasing me."? No, he rides away from the cop, only to thn ride to a police station to complain that some psycho is chasing him. Fucking ridiculous. Then later in the movie his messenger coworker has the envelope he desperately needs, so instead of explaining to the other messenger "I desperately need that envelope or someone will die! This is really serious!", he instead agrees to race the guy for the envelope. As they race, he taunts him with "I'm gonna beat you" type stuff and wasting his numerous attempts to explain how important it is he gives him the envelope. Then at the end, Shannon is going to shoot JGL, but a bicycle flash mob shows up and no joke, pokes him over and over as they ride around him in a circle, so JGL gets away and delivers the envelope. This script is total crap. That being said, it is a fun movie just in terms of action, and as I said JGL especially and Shannon are actually really good given the material they have to work with. This is worth a matinee or waiting for bluray/netflix, etc.

  • Yawn another remake!

  • Aug. 25, 2012, 9 p.m. CST

    No thanks, I already saw Quicksilver.

    by IronEagle74


  • Aug. 25, 2012, 10:26 p.m. CST

    saw this and Expendables 2 today

    by drave117

    Premium Rush is dumb, but really fun. I wonder how much of the bike stunts JGL actually did. Clearly some of them, if the credits footage is any indication. Ouch. "Seriously, though, let's get you to a hospital." Expendables 2 is basically a parody of the first one, which was at least a competent satire. The sequel is just a never-ending barrage of catch phrases, sprinkled over action sequences so implausible they border on surreal.

  • Aug. 25, 2012, 10:47 p.m. CST

    The anti-Obama film is beating Premium Rush HAHAHAHAHAHA

    by FeralAngel

    I love this country.

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 10:21 p.m. CST

    Bane: Impossible... I broke you.

    by thebearovingian

    Batman: Yes, but then I watched Premium Rush... WHERE IS THE TRIGGER?! *huffing/puffing/heavy breathing* WHERE IS THE TRIGGER?!