Push (2009)

Chris Evans demonstrates non-Captain America super powers in an X-Men variation that gets muddled in its own mess.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

This review was written 6 years too late.

It’s a world where among us normal folk are those blessed/cursed with various abilities including seeing the future, telekinesis, mind control and, er, shouting really loud. Needless to say, a shady government organisation called Division has been capturing and experimenting on these mutants to create an army and then, well, they don’t actually say what.

Hiding out in Hong Kong is Nick (Chris Evans), a low-level “mover” earning money by trying to manipulate dice games with his powers. When he meets precognitive Cassie (Dakota Fanning), he gets embroiled in a race to find a suitcase that contains a power-enhancing drug. But Nick and Cassie are not the only ones after it, as the bad guy Djimon Hounsou‘s Division want it too, while a gang of empowered Triads are also in the chase.

And a chase is all “Push” really is. The facets of different powers don’t really distinguish it, and in fact, serve to muddle it. Take Pushers, who can push thoughts and emotions into minds and control people. All this delivers to us are a series of bluffs – did it really happen or am I being tricked? – that quickly become tedious and undermine motivations. Or Watchers, who see varying degrees of accuracy in their predictions depending on what the script demands. The slightly seedy Sniffs, meanwhile, can locate a person simply by smelling something that once belonged to the target, but the dimensions of this ability are cloudy and, like Watchers, suit the plot more than anything. Sploshers I won’t even go into, while the intensely irritating Bleeders and their glass-shattering shrieks are unintentionally comic.

Too many action scenes are devoid of logic: a gunfight between two movers making pistols hover not only looks cheesy (weapons clearly on CG-removed strings) but is just plain silly. Why have the guns slowly move up on their targets, taking cover, and shooting to get closer? Me, I’d send the gun straight across the room and blow my adversary away. Job done. It’s a visual equivalent of monologuing as described in “The Incredibles“.

Evans is acceptable in the lead role. Fanning’s tween Cassie is irritating, and making the character a young adult serves no purpose. Her drinking alcohol or wandering the mean streets of Hong Kong alone late at night are pointless scenes that only serve to undermine an already stretched credibility.

Only one thing to do with this movie: Push the off button.

Trailer

 

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