Published Feb 05, 2009With all the superhero movies in theaters over the last little while audiences might be getting tired of watching people with powers fighting one another. But Push nudges the genre in a sci-fi direction that sets it apart from its more comic book brethren, creating a film that overcomes its awkward moments and adds a new twist to a familiar formula.
Part sci-fi movie, part Hong Kong action flick, Push is more Philip K. Dick than The Matrix. The focus is on character and story, with just enough high octane action to keep the plot clipping along at a satisfying pace. Set entirely in Hong Kong, and populated by displaced Westerners, Push has a unique style and an interesting visual landscape that helps set this film apart from similar fare.
In a world where people have developed a variety of special abilities, Nick Gant (Chris Evans) has the powerful but unpredictable capability to move objects with his mind. Down on his luck and hiding out from a secret organization that polices people with powers, Nick encounters preternaturally confident psychic Cassie (Dakota Fanning). Cassie enlists Nick on her quest to bring down the organization that has oppressed and manipulated their kind for years. Soon, a ragtag group of misfit specials are combining their powers to bring about a future where they're free to explore their abilities without fear of incarceration and experimentation.
To a certain extent, Push is cobbled together from a number of familiar sources that audiences will no doubt recognize. Elements from X-men to Heroes to The Matrix can be found in this film but director Paul McGuigan (Lucky Number Slevin) and writer David Bourla use the audience's familiarity with this type of material to create a satisfyingly straightforward film that plays to its strengths and never feels like it's trying to imitate the stories from which it borrows.
Push might not be a no-holds-barred blockbuster like other movies of this kind but fans of the genre will appreciate the attempt to create something a little more down-to-Earth than a lot of superpower movies, even if the attempt isn't flawless. (E1)