Okay, I’ve just completed what felt like a Joseph Gordon-Levitt Film Festival. It’s what American sports teams call a twofer—meaning two movies only (‘Looper’ and ‘Premium Rush’)—but like two buses that arrive together after a one-hour of no buses showing up, you take them as they come, right?
Joseph Gordon-Levitt has been in interesting films like ‘The Dark Knight Rises’, ‘Inception’, and, in 2009, something aw-shucks romance called ‘(500) Days Of Summer’ which made the girls I know go gaga for him.
In ‘Looper’, JGL plays the younger version of BBW. That’s Bald Bruce Willis. Look, I’m not making fun of bald people because my hair is dropping like the Titanic too, but hairy situations are very important in this sci-fi thriller.
The premise is that crime bosses in the future use time travel to send back to the past people they want terminated by hired assassins called loopers. It’s like us sending our present-day trash back 200 years for Sir Stamford Raffles to clean up with his shovel.
I know ‘Looper’ sounds kinda loopy, but sci-fi geeks I know tell me it’s very cool. There’s a scene where Joseph (named Young Joe in the movie), playing a hotshot looper, meets Bruce, his intended victim, across the table in a diner.
Problem is, Young Joe is actually facing Old Joe, who’s an older version of himself—bald head, grumpy, still smirking at the thought of Ashton Kutcher being a damn fool for hooking up with their combined ex-wife, Demi Moore.
But, to me, there’s no way Joseph is going to grow up into Bruce unless a Korean plastic surgeon does a K-Pop transformation on his face. Man, it’s like me growing up to be George Clooney—what are the chances of that happening?
Anyway, Bruce goes back in time to kill some weird kid who’s going to cause a major problem in JGL’s later life—like killing his beloved China PRC wife who’s inserted into futuristic Shanghai scenes because China money is funding this show.
Of course, Young Joe doesn’t give a damn about foreign chicks looking like Zhang Ziyi because he hasn’t met her yet and also because he’s stuck in a redneck Kansas farm with shotgun-armed Emily Blunt and the freako kid Old Joe’s supposed to blast to pieces.
Bruce doesn’t know which child to kill, so he goes around nailing boys with the same name like some kind of twisted pedophile, and so the whole thing looks like ‘Terminator: The Farm Version’. Now, a lot of my sci-fi-freak pals are raving about ‘Looper’ because JGL is super-cool, Bruce is old-cool, every geek truly wants Emily to b***h-slap Anne Hathaway in ‘The Devil Wears Prada’, and they rate it as one of the best time-travel movies ever.
I can see what the fuss is because ‘Looper’ is highly entertaining and cleverly put together, unlike most other sci-fi flicks which turn out to be bloopers.
Before travelling through time, JGL travels via bike
‘Premium Rush’ is also a real rush … on bicycles.
I tell you, if you see these cyclists on our Singapore roads, you’d be flabbergasted at their ferocity. For instance, one of them uses a chain to break wing mirrors of cars blocking her as she zooms past.
JGL plays Wilee, a bicycle courier who speeds around the car-filled roads of New York City carrying urgent parcels which had to be delivered five hours ago. The dude gets into trouble because one particular parcel involves a homicidal crooked cop, the ruthless Chinatown mafia, and the sort of amazing Tour de Chase cycling which even Lance Armstrong on 100 steroid pills can’t do.
The funniest thing is seeing JGL weigh up the various options he faces in split seconds at very jammed street junctions. Go one way and he’ll be hit by a bus, go another and he’ll crash into a woman with a pram, go the third way and maybe he can just sneak through.
It’s very exciting.
The whole time I was watching JGL zip by, I kept thinking about one more option concerning bicycles.
Blow $2,000 and buy a Brompton.
What The Flick is a regular movie column by local humourist and entertainment writer Tay Yek Keak