Push (2009)
By: James Gillett on January 11, 2010  | 
DVD
Icon (Australia). Region B, 1080P. 2:35:1 (16:9 Enhanced). English DTS-HD Master Audio. 111 minutes
The Movie
Cover Art
Credits
Director: Paul McGuigan
Starring: Chris Evans, Dakota Fanning, Camilla Belle, Djimon Hounsou
Screenplay: David Bourla
Country: USA
External Links
Purchase IMDB YouTube
We're in psychic territory here, a world where a select few have access to some extraordinary abilities using, for the most part, the power of the mind. And like other such worlds, we have a government agency (here dubbed Division) out to control or ideally harness them as weapons.

If your thinking that sounds a little like something you've seen many a time before, then that's because you have. Push isn't particularly original on the surface, but that's not to say the setup isn't without promise. Here, rather than one type of psychic power around, ala Scanners for example, or a complete mix of strengths like X-men and its ilk, Push's 'super powered ones' can be sorted into neat little groups with very specific abilities.

Firstly we have the 'Movers', who much like Carrie say, are those who can move objects with their mind. Next up are the 'Watchers', who can see visions of the future like the sick voyeurs they are (may not actually be sick voyeurs). And then we have the 'Pushers', who can basically perform a super version of the Jedi Mind trick, or for non Star Wars fans, can 'Push' idea's or even memories into someone's head, and thereby control or manipulate through the power of suggestion. There are a few others, like healers or those that can harm with a deafening scream, but for the purpose of simplicity, the predicament:

Kira (Camilla Belle - 10,000 BC) is a Pusher who just managed to escape a Division facility, but not before she was pumped full of an experimental drug designed to increase her powers. Apparently she's the only one to ever survive it, which makes you wonder why they kept trying if the subjects kept dying, but anyway, it's for this reason the Division wants desperately to get her back.

Nick (Chris Evans - Sunshine) is a Mover hiding from the Division in Hong Kong after a confrontation with them years before ended in his father's death. He's soon contacted by Cassie (Dakota Fanning- War of the Worlds), a Watcher who sees both of their deaths in the near future if they don't do something to change it, and Kira along with a mysterious suitcase, might just be the key.

Saying anymore is just getting into spoiler territory, so I'll leave it there. What I can say is how promisingly well this movie starts out. The first few scenes are real attention getters, and after a visually striking title sequence that delves into the history of the psychics, the movie launches straight into the action.

Only, at some point during all the running around (and away) the film starts to gradually lose its way. Maybe it's a case of too many groups of super powered ones, maybe there's too many convoluted plot complications, maybe Dakota Fanning's hair is just a little too large for the eye. Whatever it may be, the film starts to feel overly cluttered, as if they were trying to cram X amount in, and all the while keep the pace up and the running time down under the magic two hour mark.

At least visually, the news is good. Shot on location in Hong Kong with a more grounded style than you would expect, Push's vibrant and gritty visual flavour is easily one of its strongest assets. Some great locations, including a crowded fish market and a scummy low rent apartment building really add character. Director Paul McGuigan, best known for crime flicks such as Gangster No. 1 and Lucky Number Slevin, shoots the action with reasonable coherency and less focus on CGI than your typical 'super powers' flick. Over editing, while occasionally cropping up, is also less severe than some other recent action films.

The cast are mostly good considering character development seems to be a low priority. Chris Evan's is well suited here as Nick, his slightly detached yet heroic turn feels just right for the material. Dakota Fanning is fine in a role that sees her getting a little closer to breaking free of more childish fair. Camilla Belle is cute but alarmingly dull in a part that you could hardly call a character. Her role seems to exist solely as a plot device, and it shows.
Video
The 1080p transfer, presented at 2:35:1 and 24fps, is excellent. Impressive detail, contrast and vibrant colours abound with a dash of filmic grain that ensures the films intended cinematic look.
Audio
The DTS-HD Master Audio here is practically reference grade. Beautifully balanced and with a hard hitting base, Push creates an impressive soundstage. Everything from ambient sound to all manner of shattering glass and gunfire make this a strong pleasingly immersive track.
Extra Features
We get a fairly light Audio Commentary with director Paul McGuigan and stars Chris Evans and Dakota Fanning.

One featurette The Science Behind the Fiction that looks at the 'science' behind the film featuring Dr. John Alexander (a retired colonel from the U.S. Army) talking about his experiences with psychic phenomenon, plus a little of Director Paul McGuigan.

Also 4 Deleted Scenes, running to just over 3 minutes, with optional Director Commentary are available, along with trailers for both Fame and The Box.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
Despite the films virtues and potential, including strong visuals, use of location and production design, and some nice ideas, it doesn't really satisfy. The characters, underdeveloped and one track, are held together only by some reasonable performances, and the script has a tendency to overcomplicate a relatively simple story and clutter it with far too much nonsense. By the end it all becomes a little uninvolving. The grit mixed with glitz visual approach does make up for some of its shortcomings, but not enough to really recommend it. Just barely, you could consider this fair.

The Blu-ray's visual presentation of the movie is stunning, though the disc could use more in the extra's department. The Science Behind the Fiction featurette is interesting enough, but what's really missing here is some featurette's on the film's production and genesis. Still, a solid disc, and the ideal way to catch a movie like Push.

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