Short version: Push has an interesting premise, but it just doesn’t manage to translate it into a great movie.
Screen Rant reviews Push
Just like Jumper, Push has an extensive backstory… While the former film established it via an in-depth document sent out to movie sites cataloging the history of the good guys and the bad guys, this film did it with a comic book mini-series. Having read four of the issues (which I found pretty intriguing) I had hoped that I would find the film more meaningful through understanding the deep background of “Division.”
Sadly, that didn’t turn out to be the case.
In the opening credits Dakota Fanning (who plays Cassie Holmes) gives exposition via a voiceover to bring the audience up to speed. “Division” is an extension of a program created by the Nazis – an attempt to create a super-powered army. They employ people with a variety of powers, each group with a cute name. We have “movers” who can move objects telekinetically, “sniffers” who can trace the history of an object and where it’s been (more on that later), and “bleeders” who can scream at a frequency that causes destruction and internal injuries.
Push opens 10 years ago with a 12 year old boy being rushed down a hall by his father – it seems they are being chased and dad gives his son a cryptic message that he must remember no matter what. It’s a prediction far in the future, and young Nick (Colin Ford) must promise to help the girl who gives him a flower some time in the future – no matter what.
A number of men who look like SWAT team members show up soon thereafter and after the father makes sure Nick gets away, he is killed. Nick gets a glimpse of Henry Carver (Djimon Hounsou) and will of course never forget his face.
Cut to today, and Nick (now played by Chris Evans) is living in Hong Kong, trying to stay below the radar. Because of this he hasn’t practiced using his powers he’s not very good at it and doesn’t have much control. He’s in debt to gamblers and even trying to use his powers he isn’t able to “fix” gambling games well enough to make himself win.
In a perplexing plot point, it seems that people who possess all these amazing abilities (including a number of which I haven’t mentioned) aren’t formidable enough as is, and Division has been trying to develop a drug for decades that will enhance a person’s natural meta-abilities. Problem is every attempt at a formula has been fatal. Ah, but that is until the beginning of the film where they inject Kira Hudson (Camilla Belle) with the latest version. She dies momentarily but then comes back stronger than ever and manages to escape the facility.
Cassie is a “watcher,” someone with the ability to see the future, and she finds Nick and tells him they have to find a mysterious case that Division is looking for in order to save her mother. He is hesitant at first, but that goes away when yes, she gives him a flower.
The problem is not only does Division want the contents of this case, but so does a Hong Kong gang which has its own watcher plus a couple of bleeders. We meet a variety of characters as Nick and Cassie meet up with Kira, who has had her memory “wiped” so that watchers won’t be able to figure out what she’s doing. Considering the whole “low profile” thing I found it funny how many others with abilities that Nick knew and went to for help.
Now this may all sound pretty cool but the film felt like it went on forever… It felt far longer than its 111 running time and most of the time I just felt indifferent about it. Besides that there’s a lot wrong with this movie – big plot holes, an incredibly convoluted and utterly ridiculous way to get around being tracked by the watchers and execute the “big plan” at the end and a pretty big dangling plot issue that was never resolved.
Part of getting around being tracked by opposing watchers was for Nick to come up with this big elaborate plan where he assigned different people different tasks and sealed those in envelopes so they wouldn’t know what they were supposed to do until just before they had to do it. Looking back from the end of the film, it was ridiculous how he was able to plan this out, even with Cassie’s help – and it took him two hours to get to the mind-wipe guy. It was demonstrated earlier that the Hong Kong watcher could “see” what you were doing/planning instantaneously, so it made no sense that despite his precautions his plans couldn’t be discerned.
And then my favorite dumb thing in the movie was the “sniffers.” It was hysterical watching one guy sniff around Nick’s apartment like a dog, looking for something that would clue him into where Nick had been. And then to make it worse, it seems that if a sniffer takes say, your toothbrush – he’ll not only be able to figure out where you’ve been but also where you’re going to be in the future!
Now I can buy into the whole getting the history of an object schtick (even though sniffing it seems really silly), but once you remove that object from the person it belongs to, how the heck is it supposed to tell you where the person is going AFTER you take it away from them?
Another thing that bothered me throughout the movie is that frankly, they made Dakota Fanning look like a pre-teen hooker in this film. Yes, I expected her to look raggedy since she seems to live on the streets, but that uber short skirt/shorts she wore and a couple of scenes that really seemed salacious from the camera angle left me squirming in my seat a bit from feeling uncomfortable. There is also the formulaic “two s-bombs and one f-bomb” that you can get away with in a PG-13 movie.
Overall I’ll say that I would recommend you pick up the first season of Heroes on DVD and sit through that rather than spending the time or money to go watch Push. Save this one for a rental.