Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, brief strong language, smoking and a scene of teen drinking.
Release: July 7, 2009
Running Time: 1 hr 51 mins
Starring: Chris Evans, Dakota Fanning, Camilla Belle, Djimon Hounsou… IMDB listing
This film is the latest in the long line of bitterly disappointing contemporary superhero movies churned out by Hollywood, including Babylon A.D. and Jumper, which have taken an excellent underlying concept and sterilized it with poor casting, mediocre acting, and dumbed-down storyline.
Despite the film’s lively cinematography, interesting special effects, and great story concept, it just isn’t long enough to gain the moment necessary to overcome the burden of its actors’ dull performances. Had this been a miniseries, it could have been amazing, but as a two hour movie, it’s a bore. It might make for a good weekend rental, but plan on having something else to do while you watch.
For decades, a shadowy government organization simply known as The Division has been experimenting on members of the psychically gifted community, the members of which are gifted with the ability to see the future, track people, create new realities, alter memories, or kill without touching their victims. When a young clairvoyant girl named Cassie whose mother was one of those taken for experimentation enters the life of a rough-and-tumble telekinetic named Nick, the pair find themselves in a break-neck race to escape their own future deaths. Together, they navigate the Hong Kong underground to escape, outwit, and overthrow The Division for the good of all their kind. Their escape is complicated when Kira, Nick’s former girlfriend, breaks out of the medical facility to join them. She may be the key to victory, but she may also spell the end of free will for psychics everywhere if The Division gets ahold of her.
Push follows the tried-but-true troupe of a group of super-powered everyday Joes running from a shadowy organization. Think FireStarter or the television series Heroes. Unfortunately, the story suffers for its break-neck pace, which precludes almost all character development.
Dakota Fanning is utterly unconvincing in her role as the Cassie Holmes, and she sticks out from the rest of the cast like a sore thumb. The role is clearly intended to follow the comfortable and frequently-used archetype of the obstinate but loveable young damsel in distress, but Fanning comes across as awkward and irritable and lacks any authenticity as a street smart orphan. The issues surrounding her acting are compounded by the complete lack of chemistry between her and her co-star, Chris Evans.
Fanning, however, isn’t alone in her lackluster performance. Chris Evans’ performance as a man on the run trying to protect a willful teenage girl from her fate is reminiscent of Vin Diesel’s performance in Babylon A.D..
The villains of the movie steal the show. The menace Djimon Hounsou embues his role with, in particular, is one of the few high points of the film.
Rent, don’t buy this movie. It’ll be entertaining to watch once, especially if you’re a comic book fan, but after that, you’re very likely to be bored out of your skull.
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