If Jedi roamed free in the modern day, they would undoubtedly end up involved in something like Push. There is little question George Lucas’ space saga inspired the events in Push since the powers on display in this movie are nothing short of direct rip-offs. There is also a piece of Jumper squeezed in, that of an agency looking to control the Pushers.
The problem is one of too much going on within the story with too little explanation. Call it The Golden Compass syndrome if you will. The story is set up rapidly in the opening moments by Dakota Fanning’s narration.
There is a very complex world here where people have powers, although it is never exactly clear how they ended up with them in the first place. Every power seems to have a counter, which results in numerous chase sequences and forced danger. There are movers, watchers, sniffers, and pushers, amongst others. You do not want to be a sniffer…
It’s complicated, and not well thought out on-screen.
The story, as convoluted as it might be, involves an experimental drug that can amplify the power of these special people. It has been hidden in a briefcase, and numerous people are after it. Chris Evans stars alongside Fanning, but he doesn’t care to get involved in this war until forced.
At two hours, the film feels like three. Despite the rapid release of information in an attempt to explain the film’s world at the start, there are countless scenes of dialogue that drag on without much purpose. The second hour, at least until the finale, is a sequence of dull, dry exposition.
Action scenes are typically brief, or flat out ridiculous, especially one inside a restaurant that’s laughable more than entertaining. It’s even worse when Chris Evans walks away with nothing more than a sore shoulder despite being thrown into walls and a ceiling by a rival. An earlier fight inside a market (an admittedly fun visual set piece) with fewer bumps nearly kills him.
Plot holes are everywhere, not to mention some logic problems. Chris Evans devises a plan to keep one step ahead of his evil followers by changing the future, yet that’s not his given power. That is Dakota Fanning’s. The enemies lock Evans inside a car trunk, yet he can’t get himself out despite the fact he can push down entire walls with his mover power.
The final proverbial nail-in-the-coffin is the ending. Not only does it leave numerous plot lines open and not explain the fate of numerous characters, it is blatantly setting up a sequel. There’s a crucial plot about Dakota Fanning’s mother that seemed to be a critical part of the story in <em>Push</em>, yet ends just before it starts.
To its credit, this is an original concept. It is not based on a book, comic, TV show, or video game. Even if many of its ideas are pulled from those mediums, it’s a refreshing change of pace for Hollywood. Sadly, this is just not well done, lacking the background material or explanation needed to set up a sci-fi world like this. There’s an off-chance a sequel could improve this one, but given a sub-par box office draw, that’s probably not going to happen.
Push is prime for hi-def material, and this AVC transfer provides. Contrast is wonderfully bright, and rich blacks deepen the image. Detail is outstanding, providing strong facial textures and environmental objects. Color saturation is perfect, producing bold primaries and with the sole exception of a meeting drenched in red at the 37-minute mark, never bleed.
Intentional noise is present during montages, and a few brief shots also cause some noise problems that are not intended. Sharpness remains firm throughout. Grain is unobtrusive and intact.
A powerful DTS-HD mix delivers on all counts, including powerful bass when pushers take center stage. Their abilities throb the subwoofer when used. Gunfire lights up the sound field, and debris nicely clutters all channels. Ambient street effects score with positional chatter, and dialogue is perfectly inserted into the mix. The surround and stereo channels are consistently engaged.
Extras are brief, more than likely due to the poor box office. Director Paul McGuigan, Chris Evans, and Dakota Fanning deliver their thoughts via a commentary. Four deleted scenes with an optional director commentary barely run past the three-minute mark, and not only use a different aspect ratio, but feel radically different in terms of style. A short featurette, The Science Behind the Fiction, details previous government experiments into psychic abilities.