This smallish budget indie sci-fi flick is entertaining and has some good ideas, but pacing and a couple lame ideas hold it back from being as clever as it thinks it is.
Division is a government organization that is responsible for maintaining and surveying the so called “special” people of the world while they are also known for experimenting on these people’s powers as well. One of these people with these powers is Nick Gant (Chris Evans) and he is a mover, able to make objects move or create shield like deflectors to protect themselves. Nick is in hiding in Hong Kong where he spends his time gambling and attempting to hustle the locals. Nick ends up getting tossed into a bit of a mess as a series of events begin to unfold starting with a couple of sniffers (can smell into the past of objects and are excellent trackers) from Division visiting him looking for an escaped test subject (Camilla Belle) that might be super powered after testing at Division. Almost immediately after the sniffers departure, Cassie (Dakota Fanning), who is a watcher (can see the future/predict a persons intentions) and she tells Nick that she has seen that they are going to find 6 million dollars; which would help with Nick’s gambling debt. Nick isn’t sold on the idea but before he can part with Cassie they are attacked by a group of individuals containing bleeders (screeching individuals that cause you to bleed out your brain and take out objects in their yells path) and the two end up on the run together.
The film itself is an almost a constantly entertaining picture and an interesting and fresh take in the sci-fi genre. It’s more of a mystery film then an action film like it was being sold as, but when the action does heat up it is a lot of fun. The film after you get out of it seems a bit convoluted, twisted, and you ask yourself does it all make sense, but as you think about it, things get clear and clear. The film will also benefit from repeat viewings as you are introduced to this elaborate world of powers and people while also trying to stay caught up with a quickly developing and complex plot that there is a lot to take in. The world and the complexity of the plot is a bit challenging at first and it’s not necessarily intimidating, it is just a lot, and that might rub some people the wrong way when they see it. With that said, the film will probably become a cult favorite and play a lot better at home for a lot of people as I think this will find its audience on Blu-Ray and DVD.
The film does have a few detractions going for it; a couple of the ideas of the world of Push are just a bit lame. The bleeders are so stupid and lame it is almost laughable; thankfully they are not around all that often. Also, some of the powers seem to only be there for plot purposes and make things a bit too convenient. The films structure also has its up and downs, though this might just appear this way since it gets a bit dense, and most of these instances are minor, but in the last act the film sets up everything and gets you pumped up and ready to go for the finale and then adds in a short scene that completely changes the pace and grinds everything to a halt and kills all the momentum they had going. I was just like, gahhh!, anyways, the film does pick itself back up and has an awesome final fight scene and a series of clever and unseen twists to keep you on your toes that it just makes you wonder what kind of feeling you walk out with if they didn’t shoot its pacing in the foot.
The actors in the film all turn in solid work though, with director Paul McGuigan casting some of the best of the non-A list he could find. Djimon Hounsou plays the face of Division and is in Hong Kong hunting down Camilla Belle’s character, as he was overseeing her when she escaped, and he is a formidable bad guy that you can’t get a solid read on. Camilla Belle is also decent as the pusher Kira and plays the confused caught up in something she can’t explain convincingly enough. Dakota Fanning is funny and out acts everyone in the picture, creating a fun heroine while also breaking the family film mold she could get stigma as while also showing she can be a lead in an a more grown up picture. I will say this; they were dressing Dakota a bit to scantily clad if you ask me. Chris Evans rounds out the principles and I hope he can continue to shake the pretty awful Fantastic Four films and find his way to being an action star of the future. He is funny and can handle himself in a fight, I hope for big things for Evans. He does a fine job in the lead here and continues to prove he isn’t just a face.
In the end, Push is a fun sci-fi mystery that is destined for cult status. A film that will play better at home and on repeat viewings is bound to find an audience as time goes on. The ideas in and around Push work for the most part, but a couple of missteps hold it back from being as good as it good of been. There is also a bit of a feeling that the film also thinks it is cleverer then it really is, which is a bit smug, but the finale is clever enough to make up for it; just those bleeders are so damn lame. If it is still in your cinema and you are a fan of sci-fi, check this one out, and definitely don’t miss this one as a rental as there is plenty to like here and you might really fall for the material if you are a fan of the genre.