Push has some vivid verbiage to describe its characters with extrasensory evolutions — sniffers, pushers, movers, bleeders, screamers. (No butchers, bakers or candlestick makers, though.)
Too bad it doesn’t have a “writer” or “actors” able to master their abilities. As it has unfortunately become with NBC’s Heroes, this is junk-boat comic-book writing at its worst.
David Bourla’s script can’t muster even one wittily turned phrase, and his exposition is clunky enough before it’s filtered through Djimon Hounsou’s marble mouth.
To an oh-so-slightly stronger extent, Push does have a “director.” Paul McGuigan (Lucky Number Slevin, Wicker Park) gives Push the feel of live-action anime — yelling, bug-eyed, spiky-haired Asians and stylish on-location squalor of Hong Kong that makes the city feel like a neon-lined garbage can.
All of its jittery jive, though, does nothing to evoke a heightened sense of where the movie could go. (Imagine the hyperactive fetishes of a “sniffer.”) Truth be told, Push’s light fixtures are its true stars — constantly reflecting, twinkling and popping. It’s not surprising that their wattage burns brighter than anything else in the movie.
Usually able to elevate C-level garbage such as this, Chris Evans is as drab as the dreary HK sky. He’s Nick, a “pusher” who lacks confidence in his ability to throw people across a room using only his mind.
Adrift in Hong Kong, Nick meets up with Cassie (Dakota Fanning), who can see into the future. Cassie’s drawings of said future resemble chalk-slate pictures of the latest frozen fruity cocktail at Applebee’s. Problem is, in every version Cassie sees of the future, she and Nick are both dead at the hands of Carver (Hounsou).
Were Fanning actually able to see her future way back when, she might have avoided a film forcing her to walk around moon-eyed, as if waiting for a mid-’90s U2 or R.E.M. video to start.
Fanning might now be 15, but she looks a gangly 12, growing into her junior high basketball-player frame. More distressingly, she scampers around in skimpy clothes, with a near-upskirt shot catering to creepy teenage fetishists.
Heroes has the Company to track mutants. Push has Division (of Derivativeness?). Carver leads Division agents to hunt Nick, Cassie and the ultimate mutant, Kira (Camilla Belle, in a performance placing her atop a list of our era’s worst actresses).
As cliché as Push is, it at least musters more heart to its storyline than Jumper, a similarly plotted, but joyless, piece of junk. Then again, Push’s best moments are when guns levitate and fire themselves. When you don’t even need the actors to hold the firearms, it’s the ultimate in autopilot filmmaking.
Push poses the question of how to make the future unpredictable. The answer is simple: Hire a better screenwriter next time. At least its Blu-ray presentation is profoundly impressive — an MPEG-4 AVC picture transfer so vivid that its rainbow of color resembles a Skittles ad with violence and a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track that balances clarity with royally rumbling deep bass.
Extra features include commentary with McGuigan, Evans and Fanning, four deleted scenes with optional commentary from McGuigan and a featurette called The Science Behind the Fiction.