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Overall Rating

Awesome: 3.13%
Worth A Look: 3.13%
Average: 25%
Pretty Bad: 25%
Total Crap43.75%

4 reviews, 8 user ratings

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Push (2009)
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by Jay Seaver

"Pushing all the fun out of superhero stories."
1 stars

Remember a time, not so long ago, when superheroes had ideals as lofty as their powers were amazing and their costumes were colorful, and fought for the greater good, rather than just turf wars among themselves? When those amazing powers were actually amazing and special, rather than so common as to be taken for granted? Those days seem far away watching "Push", and even those who feel that that kind of superhero story is best left in the past will be hard-pressed to find much to like about this movie.

Oh, there's some. Johnnie To's Milky Way Image Company will probably be able to produce one or two really good crime films based on the money they made handling the Hong Kong production of this turd. Dakota Fanning and Chris Evans continue to demonstrate an uncanny ability to be very good despite being surrounded on all sides by an otherwise terrible movie. But that's just about it.

This particular terrible movie, after a couple scenes and an exposition dump to set up some of the backdrop, tells the story of Nick Gant (Evans), a young man (currently in Hong Kong) who can move things with his mind, although he's not very good at it. A pair of American "Division" agents working for Henry Carver (Djimon Hounsou), the man who killed Nick's father, pay him a visit to let him know he's being watched, and they're followed by Cassie Holmes (Fanning), a 13-year-old "watcher" who can see the future; both she and the agents are looking for Kira (Camilla Belle), an old girlfriend of Nick's who escaped from Division and can "push" thoughts into people's minds.

Push is a dreary affair, the sort of science fiction that has no room for wonder, relying on mythology to grab the audience's interest. It's not a particularly interesting mythology - for crying out loud, writer David Bourla doesn't even come up with catchy acronyms for the agencies chasing the powered people down! - and the script keeps one of the most important players off the screen for more or less the entire length of the movie (probably with the thought of having a free hand in casting the character in a sequel). None of the factions are given particularly compelling motivations, and even the protagonists fall into a kill-or-be-killed mindset fairly quickly.

Director Paul McGuigan's last film was the similarly convoluted and amoral Lucky Number Slevin, and he juggles the story well enough until the last act, when somewhere between Bourla's script and McGuigan's direction, the last act winds up making not a lot of sense - it sounds clever in concept, but falls apart with the application of a little logic. The action is quick-cut and confusing, and none of the superpowers have a particularly memorable visual associated with them.

The most memorable thing about Slevin was an enjoyably against-type performance by a cheerful Lucy Liu, and Push is similar, with Dakota Fanning as a cranky and sarcastic psychic; she also sells the one moment where these people actually seem like human beings. Chris Evans and Cliff Curtis are able enough in their parts, but Camilla Belle is pathetically flat as the character at the center of the action, while Djimon Hounsou and Ming-Na sleepwalk through their roles.

"Push" is probably more competent than most other films bad enough to earn a one-star rating, but it's ugly, right down to the last frame. It's just no fun, and doesn't offer any sort of originality or cleverness to make up for it.

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originally posted: 02/09/09 12:00:21
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User Comments

9/14/17 morris campbell corny but watchable 3 stars
12/09/14 Wil Kaklstrom Outstanding film and soundtrack, based on the very real STARGATE project. 5 stars
7/29/09 mr.mike I liked it better on the second viewing. 4 stars
7/19/09 art A COCK "N" BULL STORY! 1 stars
5/16/09 Meredith Harshaw Cheers! We've heard DakotaFanning say"shit".Will she soon go way of FlimsyLohan&TerrorReid? 2 stars
5/15/09 Kathy ter Plugg Shows promise until last quarter gets bogged down in confusion. 3 stars
2/12/09 Ming This movie is not very interesting 2 stars
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  06-Feb-2009 (PG-13)
  DVD: 07-Jul-2009


  DVD: 07-Jul-2009

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