Theatrical Review: Push

Since World War II, the United States government has been recruiting various people with psychic abilities to be a part of The Division. Now something that The Division needs has been tracked to Hong Kong, and there The Division contacts an ex-patriate named Nick Gant in trying to find it. Nick has the power of telekinesis and is basically know as a “mover” (with other psychics having powers that label them as “sniffers,” “watchers,” “shadows,” “pushers” and so on). Nick knows nothing, so The Division moves on, but immediately after that meeting, Nick is then contacted by a 13-year old “watcher” (someone able to see the future) named Cassie and informed of what his role is to be in this story… and then hijinks ensue…

… and not at a particularly exciting pace either… I’m not going to be recommending the new movie Push today, and before I get into the specifics of the story itself, one of the main reasons that Im not recommending this is something that’s just in my case, and that was a matter of poor presentation at the theatre that I went to see it at. First the sound was screwed up through the opening portions setting the whole idea of these psychics and The Division up. To solve that, the movie was stopped and then it started up again, this time with the sound working. Then, because this takes place in Hong Kong, there were portions of the film that were subtitled, and the way it was projected, you couldn’t see the subtitles as they were cut off at the bottom of the screen. So there’s a few strikes against this right from the start, thanks to poor presentation.

But sometimes, a movie can rise beyond that, unfortunately, in Push’s case, things are too slowly paced and convoluted to make this one anything to get excited about. This gets a lot of comparison to last year’s Jumper, and it’s easy to see, on the surface, they’re essentially about the same thing: people with “gifts” being hunted by shadowy organizations. And one of the traps this immediately falls into is just simplistically making The Division the bad guys of the piece. There’s no explanation given really to what they do other than just hunt down and recruit these psychics, and so just by reason that they’re the “authority” here, they’re evil. Now one thing that this has in it’s favor over Jumper though is that the psychics on the run here are generally much more likeable than the protagonists of Jumper having something a little more noble to be fighting for, unfortunately, it’s handled in such a way that things either happen to slow or too conveniently for you to either give a damn or think they’re just cool.

The cast is, for the most part, pretty good here. Chris Evans and Dakota Fanning play Nick and Cassie respectively, and they do a good job, there’s just not much that they’re really asked to do. The same can be said of Djimon Hounsou who plays Henry Carver, one of The Division agents pursuing this object (a serum that augments psychic abilities). Cliff Curtis, a real capable guy, is also one of the ex-patriates located in Hong Kong, and he’s solid, but if you want to see a better movie with him and Evans, I’d suggest Danny Boyle’s Sunshine over this one. The one person of the main cast who’s a real drag here is Camilla Belle, who’s another of the psychics living in Hong Kong, and she looks good but she’s just boring and especially when a particular plot turn happens, there’s nothing there to really get excited about with her (Belle was also in last year’s 10,000 B.C. where she also served as a drag on the story). Actually, the best parts of the cast are actors playing side roles, one of The Division’s other “movers” who’s just got a lot of fire in him when doing the physical stuff, and a whole group of Hong Kong psychics who really just chew up scenery when doing their thing, are way more fun to watch than the main cast.

In the end, this whole idea seems like it’s by someone who’s watched Heroes and X-Men and thinks they can do a better job with it and due to poor pacing primarily and convoluting the plot to make this appear complex, it instead just gets bogged down to the point that you just don’t care. This wasn’t really a good start to seeing new movies for 2009…

About Darren Goodhart

Darren Goodhart is a 44-year old St. Louis-based Graphic Designer and Illustrator (and former comic book artist) who's been seeing movies all his life, but on an almost weekly basis in theatres for the last 20 years and owns nearly 1,000 DVDs for his home theatre. He's learned a lot about film over the 20 year period, and has taken his appreciation beyond the mainstream. His favorite types of film are mostly genre entertainment, but he also enjoys a wide range of drama, action and cult-y stuff from around the world, and is currently re-discovering a love affair with lower budget exploitation and genre films from the 70s and early 80s. He doesn't try to just dismiss any film, but if there's a bias against one, he'll certainly tell you that in the space of his reviews.

08. February 2009 by Darren Goodhart
Categories: Text Reviews, Theatrical Review | Leave a comment

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