The Nexus of Pop-Culture Fandom

Push: Great Concept, Not Great Movie

Written by: Joseph Randazzo, Special to CC2K

Image Want to see a movie…

…based on a successful and supposedly excellent book?

…with people that can see the future?

…where people can move things with their minds?

…featuring a secret society that exists in parallel to our own?

…with good action and excellent acting?

If you answered yes to these questions, then go watch Nightwatch and its sequel Daywatch, the Russian thrillers from a few years ago.

However, if you are so opposed to subtitles that you’d prefer a movie in English, even if it’s far inferior, then Push is perfect for you.

Chris Evans (Fantastic Four, Sunshine) plays Nick, a “mover.” Not the kind with the ass-crack who breaks your mother’s priceless Humboldt cookie jar (even though you distinctly told them to be careful with it), but the kind that can move things telekinetically. His dad, who was also a mover, was killed ten years earlier by Samuel L Jackson because…wait…no, that’s Jumper, the eerily similar (and utterly terrible) movie from just last year. Chris’ dad was actually killed by Djimon Hounsou for being telekinetic. (I promise I didn’t ruin anything there; it’s the first scene and kind of the impetus of the movie.) I would have preferred to see Evans kick a bit more ass and be less of a punching bag, but he was likable nonetheless. You’ll enjoy his time on screen.

Chris’ vagabond life as a wannabe con artist is cut short with the arrival of Cassie Holmes (Dakota Fanning), who has the dual powers of seeing the future, and walking around in seriously short skirts. (And I mean disturbingly short. I haven’t been thirteen in a while, but someone should have made the costume designer come to his or her senses.  Unless they were purposely courting the pedophile demographic, it was just plain wrong.)  Cassie draws her visions of the future, but can’t really flesh them out. She has “seen” that she and Chris are in terrible danger…and yet everything they do seems to make their future even more grim. Fanning is pretty good in the role, but either she or the script gives up from time to time.  She is a particularly hilarious drunk, though. 

Cassie and Chris are opposed by Henry Carver (Djimon Hounsou), the head of a shadowy government organization who captures these meta-humans and uses them as super soldiers. And they are both trying to find Kira Hudson (Camilla Belle), a woman with the power of looking like Katie Holmes (and “pushing” thoughts into other people’s minds), who is destined either to tear down this government organization, or make it unstoppable.

There are also "stitches," "shadows," "bleeders," "shifts," "sniffs," and "wipers.”  These are all characters you want to see more of, yet won’t. These different special variations (some would call them mutants even) are what makes the movie unique from the standard shadow government movie.

They are all chasing Kira Hudson for ….you know what? It doesn’t matter. You don’t go see a movie like this for the plot or whatever the McGuffin is. You go to see wickedly awesome people do cool things with their special powers.

That is where the movie succeeds. The powers are cool, and the scenes where they are shown off are even cooler. The movie, on the other hand…just isn’t. It’s too much blah, blah, blah and not enough biff, bam, boom. 

It’s not that I want a pure action movie (I usually find them repetitive and boring), but the exposition here just choked the narrative. It was an origin story, but without the truly compelling moments that made you want to see more.  Once the movie’s characters settle into their powers and the real fighting begins, then it is a decent movie, but everything else… substandard.

Bottom Line: It’s about people with secret powers. Awesome powers. The actors are good, the concept is good. This could have been so cool. It just doesn’t live up to its potential. It is a good rainy Sunday rental movie.  But do me a favor, go rent Nightwatch first.