Science fiction and fantasy                                            



Push

directed by Paul McGuigan

Push poster  
Imagine the X-Men with toned-down costumes, plagued by a sinister agency known as Division, and born into their abilities as the result of Nazi experiments on an earlier generation, and you'll have some idea of what Push is like. This story is full of people with special powers such as telekinesis (Movers), mind-control (Pushers), and other assorted psychic abilities. Some can even see the future (Watchers).

Division are intent on tracking down anyone with powers and either taking them in or neutralising them. In the opening scenes they come for a boy's father, but not before he urges his son, Nick, not to allow them to track him. The agency are looking for test subjects. There's an injection that's meant to boost their special powers, but no-one has yet survived the drug.

When a woman eventually does survive she escapes Division and goes on the run. Nick (Chris Evans) is living in Hong Kong now, in the slums. He's using his poorly-developed power as a Mover to hustle a living, although mostly he just accumulates gambling debts. Then Division turns up at his home, soon followed by Cassie (Dakota Fanning). Cassie is a 13-year-old Watcher, and her talent is as unreliable as Nick's. Yet she manages to persuade him to help her find the missing woman, Kira (Camilla Belle).

Cassie and Nick race through Hong Kong, trying to avoid Henry Carver (Djimon Hounsou) and his Division goons, as well as a native gang of people with special talents. But every move they make changes Cassie's view of the future, and not always for the better.

You might think that having an oracle on your team would make everything too easy for the protagonists, but things are never that simple. Push has a fairly clever plot, although it is a little odd when some of the characters fail to press their advantage simply because of what the Watchers believe may happen in the future. Nevertheless the suspense is strong, and the action culminates in some stylish fights and destructive set-pieces. There are a lot of unusual camera angles, and at times the movie seems to be in danger of turning into a triumph of style over substance. But the story is convoluted enough to keep viewers guessing, and Dakota Fanning is excellent as the snarky yet vulnerable young Watcher. It's not profound, but it is fun while it lasts.

Film Details

Year: 2009

Categories: Films

  Science fiction

Classification: 12

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3 star rating

Review © Ros Jackson

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