Push is an oddball action film for me. I remember seeing the trailer for it during Underworld: Rise of the Lycans and thinking that (a.) the entire plot of the movie was presented therein and (b.) the entire concept sounded like it’d been done before, and probably better. Sadly, neither of those initial observations are incorrect.
The film starts off with a scene in the past to give some backstory to Nick’s character. Inevitably this is basically a throwaway scene since there’s pretty much no characterization in the entire film. It does give Djimon Hounsou cause to act all badass, which he is quite capable of handling. This is good, since it’s the only aspect his character has.
After this Cassie gives us some exposition that would have worked better if there was less talking and more development of said dialogue. This will become a recurring issue for me throughout the film. In the end I realized that the biggest flaw with Push is that it seems like it’s a film that’s in the middle of an ongoing series. It ends ambiguously enough for one to surmise that a sequel is possible, though unlikely due to the film’s box office performance. But it also seems to start as if the viewer already knows half of what’s going on and most of the time does little to explain itself and when it does, it seems grossly complex and downright boring. If it weren’t for the latter, I’d say the concept of Push would have fared better as a television series where it could take the time to delve into its mythology and actually develop the characters.
If all that weren’t enough to make the film downright mediocre, there’s Nick and his merry band of miscreants who are both bland and practically unlikeable. Nick ends up as the de facto leader of the group for reasons that never are explained and make about as much sense as anything else in the film. Most of his ragtag team seem to be picked from the least-likely-superhero list and all, save for Cassie, seem to get this more than Nick as they all are quite unwilling to help him out. Not surprisingly, Cassie proves the most helpful to both Nick and us, since she’s actually quite efficient for a 13-year-old, even though she downplays her ability to understand her precognitive powers. Dakota Fanning is cursed with the most dialogue, so if you’re listening closely to the pages and pages she’s given you might understand things in the film a bit more. However, she says a lot and she says most of it fast and as such half of that seems innocuous and is quickly forgotten.
All this would be well and good and easily enough overlooked if the action weren’t equally as boring as all the talking. Granted there are some nice fight sequences here and there, but as a whole for an action film, action is downplayed quite a bit. In fact, if you saw the trailer, you’ve pretty much seen the extent of it. I will say that Neil Jackson is given some nice moments, though; but it’s a let down that Chris Evans is shortchanged since he’s supposedly the big name hero or whatnot. Astoundingly, there’s also an incredible amount of talking during the few action scenes, which diminishes the level of interest they exude by several degrees.
What surprises me the most about Push is that not only did I not vehemently dislike it, but the movie raises so many questions and answers so very little that I find myself actually wishing for more. Don’t get me wrong, I doubt highly I could stomach a sequel as unengaging as this, but as I stated above the film feels like it is part of a greater whole and it pulls few punches with this. It’s unsettling that so little is given adequate exploration and explanation and I maintain that a better venue for it would have been a TV series where writers would have the chance to delve deeper into the characters and mythology. Except for the fact that what is explored seems like it’s been done before in a far less complex way.
Definitely not worth the price of admission — and since I didn’t pay any, I can’t complain. Certainly not the best thing I’ve ever watched by a long stretch, but it’s still not the worst two hours I’ve spent either.