Reviews

Push

3

Think X-Men in the Far East.

Besides the urban sprawls stalked by Batman and Spidey and the Philadelphian chill that seeps into Unbreakable’s brittle bones, comic-book flicks often take place in airbrushed North American anywheres.

Unusually for the genre, Paul McGuigan’s Lucky Number Slevin follow-up defines itself more by the intoxicating strangeness of its Hong Kong setting than the assorted Pushers, Sniffers and Bleeders who live there.

Though these guys sound like sexual deviants, they’re actually psychics with mind-bending powers. Living off-radar in a rundown HK tenement, Nick (Chris Evans) is a Mover (telekinetic) whose day heads rapidly downhill when he meets Cassie (Dakota Fanning), a tweenaged Watcher (soothsayer) whose drawings depict potential – but preventable – doom if the duo don’t save his ex (Camilla Belle) from government spooks.

They’re an awkward trio. Evans is a lunk-headed lead; Fanning, wearing a permanent I-Told-You-So expression (chiefly because she did), is an eminently slappable Hermione figure and the bland Belle leaves much to be desired as a muse.

Still, when they let rip, Push explodes into action, McGuigan’s assured, muscular direction prodding the 12A certificate to its limits. In a stand-out stand-off, Nick and Cassie are attacked in a seafood market by Bleeders, whose ear-splitting screams shatter the aquariums, spewing glass, water and ruby-red fish guts everywhere.

Later, sparks (quite literally) fly as two Movers indulge in some crunchy face-hurting with whatever leaps (again, quite literally) to hand.

Unconcerned with plot logic or character development, Push seems entranced with the endless possibilities of this universe. It’s an ambitious, original effort, but eventually McGuigan jettisons all sense in favour of sensation, and the film begins to feel like one of Cassie’s drawings: a vivid, if childish, flight of fancy that nearly, but not quite, comes good.

Matt Glasby

Verdict:

Sloppily conceived but directed with flair, Push is bound to split the vote. Look closely and its disparate pieces fit clumsily together; step back and the overall effect has an undeniable allure.

Film Details

User Reviews

    • graham6

      Mar 14th 2009, 23:46

      4

      With such big arrivals later this year from such films as Avatar and Transformers 2, it seems like a long wait to see this mega budget flicks, and that's one of the many reasons why I enjoyed 'Push'; it completely satisfied my thirst for some comic books action thrillers. It's gritty albeit sloppy, and pushes its '12A' rating to the limits. The acting is strong, with only Camilla Belle is the weak link, in what should have been a strong role was made into your average damsel in distress part. There's lots of great action scenes, and despite only having a $38 million budget, the special effects are brilliant. This is crying out for future installments, but whether that will happen after a disappointing British and American run is yet to be confirmed. But this is a strong start to what could be a great new collection of films for this ever developing genre.

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    • thekillingjoke

      May 23rd 2009, 21:13

      3

      Chris Evans is/was not nearly charismatic enough to pull off this leading role. Other than that it was okay, aside from the screaming men were bloody annoying, i just wanted to punch them. The end certainly leaves it open for a sequel... 'Pull' maybe?...

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    • MikeyRix

      Jun 2nd 2009, 21:33

      4

      I liked this film! It wasn't that bad. Different from most of what I was watching at the time...

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    • bassthing

      Oct 11th 2009, 10:27

      How can a film about people with enviable abilities such as telekinesis and future telling be so dull? This was the question circling around my head whilst watching this film. As a whole the film doesn’t appear to have any direction, much like it’s central characters. Evans and Belle as the lead couple are both uncharismatic and look bored throughout. And this essentially goes for the rest of the cast. The only cast member who appears to be putting any effort in is Fanning, playing an already world weary young girl trying to learn how to use her skill, her acting puts the adults to shame. Even the action is dull, as our young central characters learn to hone their skills you would expect the action sequences to likewise become more powerful eye candy, however, it doesn’t, it just continues to be dull. Overall, a film that had so much potential ends up being dull because of a lack of any sense of direction, and poor casting.

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    • bassthing

      Oct 11th 2009, 10:27

      1

      How can a film about people with enviable abilities such as telekinesis and future telling be so dull? This was the question circling around my head whilst watching this film. As a whole the film doesn’t appear to have any direction, much like it’s central characters. Evans and Belle as the lead couple are both uncharismatic and look bored throughout. And this essentially goes for the rest of the cast. The only cast member who appears to be putting any effort in is Fanning, playing an already world weary young girl trying to learn how to use her skill, her acting puts the adults to shame. Even the action is dull, as our young central characters learn to hone their skills you would expect the action sequences to likewise become more powerful eye candy, however, it doesn’t, it just continues to be dull. Overall, a film that had so much potential ends up being dull because of a lack of any sense of direction, and poor casting.

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    • captainchod

      Jan 26th 2010, 9:52

      4

      Very ambitious considering its limited budget. Push creates an intruiging universe that really needs to explored more. Very entertaining, although not as many all out action scenes as many of the comic book type films, which may put people off.

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