A riveting action-thriller, "Push" burrows deep into the deadly world of psychic espionage where artificially enhanced paranormal operatives have the ability to move objects with their minds, see the future, create new realities and kill without ever touching their victims. Against this setting, a young man (Chris Evans) and a teenage girl (Dakota Fanning) take on a clandestine agency in a race against time that will determine the future of civilization. (from Movieweb.com)
Science fiction action films are often an acquired taste. Many times, the story introduces the audience to an alternate, heightened reality that must be accepted -- no matter how outlandish -- to make the film work. For example, last year's Jumper was centered on the idea that there existed a select few human beings with the ability to teleport anywhere in the world they desired, while a secret group of people hunted these extraordinary people to eliminate them. With this Winter's Push, another novel is brought to the screen that showcases the supernatural gifts of people who can do anything, from seeing the future to shape changing items or moving objects with their mind. It's the kind of story that's certainly imaginative and creative, but begs for your suspension of disbelief.
There probably isn't a whole lot different between the concept of X-Men and Push, except we're dropped pretty quickly into the middle of the world-according-to-Push and given pieces of the puzzle slowly, that isn't a simple one to grasp. And at the same time, director Paul McGuigan presents this world in a rather violent, action-based packaging that offers plenty of thrills and eye candy as the story unfolds. We're shown this alternate reality through the eyes of Nick, played by Chris Evans, who has the ability to move things with his mind (as did his dad who was killed for it while Nick was still very young), and we find him hiding out from the government when we meet him all grown up. It isn't long before Nick meets Cassie, played by Dakota Fanning, a young girl who is still developing her gift to see into the future. The intricate plot quickly adds character upon character and situation upon situation as the movie progresses, making for a pretty involved experience to absorb.
And as mentioned before, it's a violent story, and it feels rather gratuitous at times. There's a lot of gunplay, with the finale including the most carnage as a result of it. Earlier on, a "pusher" tricks a man into shooting himself in the head, and we see him do it in the distance after the fact (although it isn't bloody or gory). A couple characters have the ability to shatter objects (including cause internal bodily harm to people) when they scream, and in at least one instance, we see blood coming out of a person's ears, and later see the bruised and discolored body of a victim of this. Language is also pretty colorful, with at least one "f" word (and possibly another) and a scene hints at a possible sexual encounter in a hotel bathroom (we see some romantic kissing and holding before the scene changes). On top of that, the barely fourteen year old Dakota Fanning is seen in just a tiny miniskirt throughout the length of the movie, which seems a bit strange for her character and given her age. Aside from that, it's mostly your usual PG-13 fare, but it stays pretty intense from start to finish.
Evans and Fanning are good in their roles, and actually make for a good team... although it is a bit strange to see the young child star Fanning get drunk in one scene and utter the "s" word and "d*mn" on a couple of occasions. The unlikely pair do make Push fun to watch and are believable in their roles, so it's unfortunate that the content is as unnecessarily rough as it is. And this fact is what hurts Push the most. Camilla Belle is also good as Kira, a girl on the run from the government because of her abilities. And Djimon Hounsou is good, as usual, as the film's villain. Hong Kong serves as a great set for the film with wonderful cinematography and colors, and McGuigan doesn't skimp on the character development for the sake of cheap thrills.
So if you can stretch the imagination for a convoluted plot and sci-fi world, Push is your kind of movie. I often enjoy what films like this are trying to accomplish -- as Push does a fairly good job keeping things entertaining enough -- but the execution is just as important. There's really no need for movies to be as gratuitous in violence and language and Push is a reminder of this... in a bad way.- John DiBiase (reviewed: 2/22/09)
Disclaimer: All reviews are based solely on the opinions of the reviewer. Most reviews are rated on how the reviewer enjoyed the film overall, not exclusively on content. However, if the content really affects the reviewer's opinion and experience of the film, it will definitely affect the reviewer's overall rating.
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