What You’re In For: Seemingly ordinary people possessing extraordinary abilities band together in Hong Kong to rescue a girl who has escaped from a clandestine organization named Division.
The Actors: Chris Evans, Dakota Fanning, Camilla Belle, Djimon Honsou
The Director: Paul McGuigan
On An Added Note: Don’t be fooled into thinking this movie is a rip-off from NBC’s hit series “Heroes”. “Push” has a storyline of its own.
The Downside To A Title Called “Push”
With a title like “Push”, we can’t really fault people for thinking all sorts of things up other than it being a movie about gifted beings. The ambiguity in the title did not do best, as expected in saving the film at the US box office but if we were to watch it and give our judgement introspectively, would it be better than we had thought?
Of Movers And Shakers…
“Push”, for those still in the dark takes place in Hong Kong where an American man, Nick Gant (Chris Evans) has settled in amongst the locals. And by settling in, he is able to converse in basic Cantonese and has taken up to street gambling which we see him being very astute in, using his powers to win bets. His powers is that of the ‘Movers’, which we come to understand from Dakota Fanning’s narration at the very start. Basically, Nick falls into one of the many categories of mutated people in this world (the mutation caused by an experimental activity after WW II). Others comprise of ‘Shifters’,Pushers’,’Bleeders’,’Watchers’,’Sniffs’,’Wipers’,’Shadows’ and ‘Stitchers’.
For more insights into these abilities that were present in characters of the film, read it here.
Nick,as a young boy had to watch the brutal murder of his father but he manages to catch a glimpse of the killer (Djimon Honsou) who happens to be the head operative of a covert organization called the Division. From there, he is imbued with a strong sense of hatred toward the man and vows to avenge his father’s death. But that is not surprisingly the basis of the story. The story averts from there practically with Nick’s past playing out in a few scenes just to serve as reminder as to why Djimon Honsou is the ‘baddie’ in the movie. Soon, a matured teenager bursts through Nick’s front door and into his life. She is Cassie Holmes (Dakota Fanning) and she reveals herself to be a ‘Watcher’as she does so after Nick questions her motives. She was apparently brought to him by her psychic thoughts and additionally by the fact that now she’s a homeless child (her mother being held captive by th Division). This becomes a sole reason for them to build a stand together against the Division. Midway, after close encounters with death and becoming deaf (from a bunch of screaming hooligans and another ‘Watcher’ whose creepy look is far more frightening than her powers), Nick comes face to face with his father’s murderer, but rather than killing him as he aggresses, the Division’s head, Henry Carver throws Nick into a duel with someone of his kind.
The story becomes more complicated when Cassie’s thoughts become more morbid as she points out their death from one of her sketchbook drawings. Nick refuses to let Cassie fall into believing that and his paternalistic side becomes prominent. He promises that none of that was going to happen. In the mean time, some of Cassie’s drawings point toward a girl in danger. The girl in danger happens to be an escapee from the Division’s headquarters. She is a ‘Shifter’. In the opening sequences, we see a petrified Kira Hudson (Camilla Belle) making a run from where she was held captive. It looks like an experimentation project gone awry but Carver decides to let her run instead because he is sure they would get her back.
Not A “Heroes” Rip-Off But Does It Prove Itself?
As the film progresses, the complexity begins to shift the audiences’ focus in countless directions. Various other characters are introduced but are given basic personalities and less attractive roles. Their parts in the story would be there to serve in making the end of the film add up. Even a romance between Kira and Nick is perpetually a smattering of scenes and bad writing. In other words, there was no existing chemistry or passion between the characters.
The setting of “Push” in Hong Kong was not entirely a poor choice. It is indeed a beautiful city but a storyline that revolves around gifted Americans living in a foreign country is pretty ridiculous. It doesn’t take a genius, a GPS system or a human tracker to find where in Hong Kong are Nick, Cassie and Kira. They practically stick out like a sore thumb.
Looking at this film does not restore any lost desire I have for “Heroes”. I am beginning to find the whole ‘ordinary people with extraordinary powers’ thing impossibly far-fetched and highly over-rated (unless it’s Spiderman we’re talking about).
We might expect a little versatility from a budding young actor like Chris Evans but that is unfortunately clearly visible in his much younger co-star, Dakota Fanning who succeeded in playing an emotionally overwhelmed teenager and part time alcoholic. Even rising young actress, Camilla Belle stole part of the show, showing much improvements from her “When A Stranger Calls” days. She is able to convey some parts of her role which require her to have not lines rather impressively and greatly enough, she has bravely taken on a role which shows her in very little make-up.
Watch It Or Trash It?
A movie about somewhat- superheroes is never a good idea. Just look at “Heroes” which is slowly fading into obscurity. A truly remarkable tale of mutants would forever be Marvel’s. “Push” might have had better potential if the writers hadn’t begun to go into overdrive after the mid-mark. Perhaps, you can watch it and then trash it?