Premium Rush

JGL On a Bike: The Movie
"Ride Like Hell"

Welcome back to the Tagline! Today I'm going to be talking about the second movie I saw last week: Premium Rush. I honestly saw this movie as a bit of a lark. I'm not sure if it's just me, but it seems like everyone is up JGLs ass lately (especially the fangirls) and it's starting to wear on my nerves. That being said, I was pleasantly surprised. Despite its somewhat unusual premise, Premium Rush was actually very engaging and entertaining from beginning to end. If I were a complete tool, I'd probably describe it as "A white knuckle thrillride that will leave you on the edge of your seat." Fortunately I am not that big of a tool, so I'm not going to say any of that senseless shit. What I will say is that this movie is just like the lunatic cyclists in it. There is not an ounce of fat to it, it is all business from the time it starts until the credits roll.

Admire his bag and big huge chain. No one's stealing that bike.
JGL is Wilee, a bike courier who dropped out of law school so he could live life on the edge. He rides a rickety ass bike with no gears and no brakes, and is very good at what he does, albeit a bit of a crazy person. He is given a envelope to deliver from his girlfriend's roommate Nima (Jamie Chung, speaking in a really weird high voice for some reason) and finds himself in the middle of something a lot more serious than he expected, pursued by a dirty cop (Michael Shannon) as he attempts to make the delivery. He is hindered along the way by rival cyclist Manny (Wole Parks) and helped by his sometimes girlfriend Vanessa (Dania Ramirez, if you know her you probably remember her as Maya from Heroes, or possibly if you had the misfortune of watching the third X-Men movie as Callisto). The entirety of the movie is a pursuit more or less, with sparing interludes and no time to stop for food (despite Wilee trying several times). The movie is structured unconventionally, with you first seeing Wilee's perspective, and then the events surrounding his pickup from several other points of view before returning back to Wilee for the conclusion. Each segment is exciting so you are entertained while the movie fills in the blanks. Some people might not appreciate that sort plot detail, but I like to have all the background when I can.

You will be seeing Dania's nipples for the whole movie.
You wouldn't really expect the idea of bike chases to pan out into an interesting or exciting movie on camera, but when you're watching a guy being chased through the crowded streets of New York City, weaving through traffic and trying not to kill pedestrians, on a bike with no brakes, well that actually gets to be fairly exciting. Add in the threat of criminal elements (the process of smugglers trafficking immigrants into the country, and various other common criminals are portrayed in a very convincing manner. No ridiculous mafia types here, it's all very matter of fact), and you have a pretty thrilling movie. The movie often strikes a pretty light tone, and certainly there was more than one moment when I laughed, but it is not without its heavier moments. Sometimes the change in tone is a little abrupt, and that's probably my biggest criticism. In particular there is a moment towards the end of the movie where I was left thinking "wow, that was sudden." I could see where they were coming from, but I'm not entirely sure that it worked.

He's a lot cheerier than I would be with my arm looking that way.
Thumb through reviews of the movie, and you'll find just what I was talking about at the beginning of the post pretty much. People are pretty quick to give JGL the ole' reach around, or to say things that don't really mean anything, rather than actually reviewing the movie. I agree it was good, but I feel as always like I'm speaking a different language. Some critics seem displeased with the way the movie shows its central plot from multiple angles, but I thought that it really worked out. A lot of reviews, even those that were generally positive, accused the movie of being mostly empty in terms of plot, and I just didn't see that. The plot is very tight, and the movie is focused entirely on it. Sure the point is really the bike chases, but still the plot is not throw away, the movie takes it seriously.

Its also really worth mentioning that there is some serious physicality on display in this movie. JGL was clearly doing a lot of bike riding, and managed to injure himself in the process, more or less going through the back windshield of a taxi. Afterwards, he was most concerned that they got a shot of him hurt to use in the movie, rather than that he was bleeding all over the place. That is some real dedication right there.

That's it for today! Join me for a super secret post Saturday, which is to say I haven't decided for sure what I'm going to post Saturday!

Also as an aside, I just released a novella called Moonlighting, available for purchase on Amazon.com here: Maybe give it a look!

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