Reel Society

Reviews for the latest movies in theaters and on DVD.

Push

Push
 
 
 

Review by Patrick Hodges

If there is one genre that met with overwhelming success in the last few years, it’s the “superhero” genre.  One need only look at the box-office takes of the Batman and Spider-Man franchises to realize that there’s big money to be had in the pages of today’s popular comic books and graphic novels.  Heck, if even minor characters like Daredevil and Ghost Rider can crack $100 million, the sky’s the limit, isn’t it?

But though most comic-book superhero films have had their origins on the pages of a comic book, it was almost inevitable that films would come along that didn’t begin as pictures on a page.  Last summer’s Hancock scored huge success on the back of its mega-star, Will Smith, and now, here comes Push, a film that fits into the genre, though with none of the hype or hoopla.

If you are an ardent fan of, or have at least watched, the TV hit show Heroes, you’ll have no trouble believing the premise:  a world where “special” people, people with extraordinary abilities, are commonplace.  They don’t wear costumes, they don’t fight crime, and they, too are on the run from a secret government agency known as “Division”, which seeks to harness their abilities for their own nefarious purposes.

The protagonist of this film is Nick Gant (Fantastic Four’s Chris Evans), who is a “mover” (telekinetic), who is hiding out in Hong Kong ten years after his father was murdered by agents of Division, led by Agent Carver (Djimon Hounsou).  There he is approached by Cassie (Dakota Fanning), who is a “watcher” (clairvoyant), who says that he has to find Kira (10,000 B.C.’s Camilla Belle), a girl with whom Nick has had a previous relationship and who happens to be the only person to escape Division’s clutches.

Kira’s power, as it turns out, is the ability to “push” (manipulate people’s thoughts), and she is at the top of Division’s list of priorities.  The thing is, how can you fight an agency who has “special” people helping them, who are more powerful than you?  How can you outwit them when they can predict your every move?

From the trailer, you might think that this is a balls-out action movie, but the storyline is actually quite complex (so complex, in fact, that it’s often difficult to discern truth from fabrication), but there is plenty of gun-action to be had here.  One wonders, however, what this film might have been with an unlimited budget and resources.  But then again, perhaps for this to work as a gritty, street-level superhero film, a small budget is what Push needed to be convincing.

I really enjoyed this film.  Though it was perhaps fifteen minutes too long and relied too heavily on flashbacks, I would recommend it to anyone who is a fan of the genre.  It may not be the coolest superhero flick you ever see, but at least it’s entertaining.

4 / 5 stars

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