Governments around the world have dreamed about having an army of psychics at their disposal. Nazi Germany, Russia and even the United States developed programs to explore the possibilities of creating such armies. Now, director Paul McGuigan (Lucky Number Slevin) and writer David Bourla (Larceny) bring these dreams to the big screen in Push.
Psychic Nick Gant, played by Chris Evans (Fantastic Four), has been hiding out in Asia since his father, also a psychic, was killed by a secretive government agency known as The Division. He is finally tracked down in Hong Kong by the Division, which monitors the actions of all psychics around the world. Nick is a “mover”, which means he can move objects with his mind. Cassie Holmes, played by Dakota Fanning (War of the Worlds), wants Nick to help her find a missing briefcase that may hold the secret to bringing the Division to an end. Cassie is a “watcher”, which allows her to see the future.
If Nick and Cassie want to find the briefcase, they also have to find Kira, played by Camilla Belle (When a Stranger Calls), a psychic who escaped from the Division while being a subject of experiments on a new drug that can boost psychic abilities. The Division wants to create the most powerful army in the world with these enhanced psychics. Division agent Henry Carver, played by Djimon Hounsou (Blood Diamond), wants to find Kira and the briefcase so he can make the Division’s dream a reality. Kira and Carver are the most dangerous type of psychics. They are known as “pushers”, which give them the ability to implant thoughts into other people’s minds that are so powerful that a person can not distinguish them from actual thoughts or memories. Besides Carver, there is also a family of dangerous Chinese psychics that want the briefcase too.
The story ideas that David Bourla create are very interesting, but he fails miserably at turning those ideas into an interesting story. Push is advertised as being action-packed, with heart-pounding special effects and an unforgettable story. Where’s the action? Aside from two minimally exciting fight scenes between Nick and a fellow “mover”, there is no action at all. Mostly what we see is Nick and Cassie wandering around the streets of Hong Kong looking for Kira and the briefcase.
Heart-pounding special effects? Where? The scene where Nick manipulates two guns to hover in the air and point at Carver and a Division agent looks like something out of the 1930’s. Instead of having my heart-pounding, I was straining my eyes to see if I could spot the wires that were being used to hold the guns in place. The movement of the guns reminded me of the movement of the bats in Bela Lugosi’s 1931 classic Dracula.
Unforgettable story? The story is at times confusing to follow and just plain dull. The idea of having psychics with different abilities confronting each other should be unforgettable and exciting, but Bourla’s story and McGuigan’s directing create a film that would help an insomniaic get much needed sleep. The talents of Fanning and Hounsou are wasted. Their characters have no life. Cassie is a typical annoying teenager that spends most of her time complaining. Carver is one of the tamest villains I’ve ever seen.
At one point in the movie, Carver tells Cassie, “You already know the ending to this story.” Cassie replies, “We’re going to change it.” Walking out of the theater, many people are going to be wishing that Bourla and McGuigan changed the ending, the middle and the beginning.