As a critic you see quite a few movies that make you wonder, “What we’re they thinking?” Push, in all its convoluted whacked-out banality, is just such a film. The overwhelming reaction from the audience at the screening I attended can be summed up as “Huh?” (that is those who hadn’t fallen asleep before the end).
Hey, I’m not saying you’ve got to hold my hand through the entire movie, but how about having it make more sense than a random collection of clips taken out of order from any random sci-fi/action flick?
Just a suggestion.
The film (preceded by the lackluster comic of the same name) introduces us to those in the world with special powers. How did they receive these powers you ask? I’m glad you asked. Were they born with them due to some genetic mutation or evolutionary process? Granted them as a piece of some divine plan? Are they aliens sent from a dying world in hopes of a better life? Nope. Nazis.
That’s right, it turns out our characters and their abilities are the result of years further developing Nazi genetic experiments which began back in WWII. And everybody knows those Nazis loved them some supermen. What they’ve created here are powers such as telekinesis, the ability to see the future, enhanced tracking ability, and mind-control. Now how can the filmmakers make each of these abilities sound as stupid as possible (aside from abscribing their origins to Nazis)? How about give them lame nicknames such as Watcher, Pusher, Movers, and Sniffs. Yeah, that should do it.
The story centers around a Mover (Chris Evans) with an axe to grind, an escaped Pusher (Camilla Belle), and a young inexperienced Watcher (Dakota Fanning) out to save the world from the evil government agency known as Division who monitors, and sometimes controls (when called for by the script), those with special abilities.
Before even writing a super-hero or sci-fi tale the first step, it would seem to me, is to decide on the rules of the world you are creating. Push never attempts to do this (which is odd since they set up a comic prequel which should have fleshed stuff like this out).
Although it mentions Watchers’ viewing of the future is tied to chance and decision making, the film never comes down solidly on what they can see and why they can see it. For example, when one of the character’s mind is wiped their future becomes blank to the enemy Watcher. Why? Sure their past would be gone, but wouldn’t their future still be laid out before them (be it on a different path)? The same inconstancy goes for the other powers covered in the film. And if when the plot creates a roadblock not bypassed by powers already introduced the film simply adds more characters with other yet undisclosed powers as needed.
So the story sucks and the effects, floating guns and a Matrix: Revolutions-like fight (and not the “good” one), aren’t anything to write home about either. It also doesn’t help that the film is populated by the likes of the supporting cast of Fantastic Four, 10,000 B.C., Blade: The Series, and The Island. Hey studio exec, if this is the best you can get to sign on than you might want to take it as a warning that the project isn’t something to greenlight.
The film is just a mess. And even worse it’s a bored-out-of-your-skull mess which halfway through the film begins to rely on twists and surpises to keep your interest. They don’t. My mind rebelled long before the first of two plot-twists which each attempted to invalidate the “story” up to that point in an attempt to surprise the audience. Oh, I was surprised alright. I was astonished a film as incomprehensible as Push made its way into theaters.