Director    Paul McGuigan
Starring    Chris Evans, Dakota Fanning, Camilla Belle, Djimon Hounsou, Neil Jackson
Release    6 FEB (US) 20 FEB (UK)    Certificate 12A
2 stars


21st February 2009

Push is a sign of things to come. Licensed comic book movies have made more than a bajillion dollars since Spidey swang back into town, so it's only natural that movie studios will want to continue this trend, without having to send wheelbarrows of money to Marvel or DC. This means they'll have to come up with original IP, which is obviously an immediate disadvantage as they lack the benefit of being ingrained into popular culture like Batman, Superman and Wolverine.

Here, a lazy Dakota Fanning narration over the opening credits explains that the Push universe is full of folks with various classes of powers. Watchers, Pushers, Stitchers, Movers and Sniffers (seriously) and others largely do whatever it says on their particular tin. The source of all theirpowers? Experiments started by the Nazis. Wait! Come back! It gets so much worse!

Push is a movie where two teams of characters are searching for a suitcase. It's as plain a McGuffin as you're likely to find, but it's hugely appropriate, as its blandness matches the direction and the quality of the performances. Only Fanning manages to to be even slightly engaging, particularly in one scene where she gets drunk to improve her predictive clarity. This is about as disturbing as you'd expect, and is probably similar to seeing Jonathan Lipnicki snort cocaine off a prostitute. Everyone is so dull you struggle to care even slightly about any of the characters: Chris Evans seems to recognise early on that this is the third best superhero movie he's been in, and the bad guys (being the shady governmental organisation, the Division) are about as threatening as a hug. From Jonathan Lipnicki.

There are a couple of noteworthy points - look out for the life and times of a mug, the deaths of many, many fish, and a Pusher controlling a team of gunmen. Towards the end, the movie even threatens its audience with a slight plot twist - one which would even have explained at least one of the many unconvincing relationships in the flick. But then, after the writers add another coincidence to allow the plot to advance, the film chickens out and pulls the plug on the only interesting idea it's had.

So, the mostly terrible script revolves largely around fortune telling and Chris Evans' impossibly large and conveniently-powered group of friends. What results is an action film almost entirely without action. We do see a brief glimpse of what could have been once Evans' character suddenly, and without explanation, masters his powers. However, the following scene, a fight between two telekinetics, just ends up looking dopey. Apart from that, it's boring business as usual, with the Watchers filling notebook after notebook with images of the constantly changing future. There are also a couple of metrosexuals who can shout quite loudly, and the finale is essentially a mediocre gunfight followed by a punchup. And as the flick even has the gaul to loudly ask for a sequel, it completely lacks an ending.

Ultimately, then, Push certainly won't make you believe a man can fly. As it stands, it would even struggle to make you hope a fella could jump.

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