So…I had a tagline for this article before even going to the theaters to see Push. It was going to read “The best comic book movie not actually based on a comic!” I mean, it had to be…Chris Evans, Dakota Fanning, Djimon Hounsou, and the dude who played the villain in the Blade TV Show. Plus, it’s directed by Paul McGuigan, who may not have had many good features (Wicker Park, Lucky Number Slevin), but directed the pilot to that TV Show on FX called Thief (with Andre Bragher) that I really enjoyed. I mean, it seems like sometimes the best comic book movies are directed by the guy’s who you normally wouldn’t expect to jump in our genre (you know, like Chris Nolan). Everyone wanted Sam Raimi to do a comic book movie…now we have three crappy Spider-Man films, and a fourth on the way. Ugh.
Push kinda stinks.
I really hate to say it, because I had really high hopes for it. I don’t think I’ve seen Chris Evans in a film I don’t like (yes, even Cellular) and the concept seemed like a pretty cool one. It was shot in Hong Kong which, while unusual given that it doesn’t have anything to do with the movie story-wise, is a very unique and cool setting.
The premise, about ordinary people in the real world with powers, could have led to some great stories. But then again, Heroes the TV show has a similar premise and hasn’t been too hot in a while either. Maybe the concept is just too limiting?
Chris Evans is a “mover,” a telekinetic essentially, on the run from Division, a government-run organization trying to capture all of the powered beings and turn them into soldiers. One day he comes across a “watcher” (Dakota Fanning) who tells him that they have to find a “pusher,” someone who can take over people’s minds and get them to do anything they want. They mention all kinds of other beings – “bleeders,” shadows,” “shifters,” all with unique and cool powers. Evans character finds out that the “pusher” they’re looking for is ex-girlfriend Kira (Camilla Belle), and that she has a drug that can take down Division. It all gets pretty complicated as a Chinese gang get involved, also with powers, trying to get a hold of the drug.
And I think maybe that was my problem with Push. That it just tried too hard to be convoluted. I liked the premise, I liked the actors, I LOVED the way it was filmed, but the film dragged and the many sub-plots, frankly, weren’t interesting. It seemed like there were long periods of time where people just sat around, walked down a street, or rode in a cab, all without any destination. They just seemed to find where they were looking for coincidentally. Because of this, the film suffered from a lack of flow – one scene didn’t really seem to move naturally to the next as it should.
Overall, a big disappointment. I really wanted to love this film, and maybe my hopes were too high. Still, if you’ve read my review of Red Mist, you know how much it bugs me when exceptional talent produces mediocre work. Well, here’s another one.
Paul Awesomeness Score: 4 out of 10