Superheroes are all the rage these days, as films like The Dark Knight and Iron Man have made billions of dollars over the last decade alone. Television shows like "Heroes" have shown that people like the idea of superpowers even when they're not tied to established properties created by DC or Marvel. That's where Push comes in.
Push stars Chris Evans, Dakota Fanning, Camilla Belle and Djimon Hounsou and is about a "government" agency that hunts people with special powers to experiment on them. Evans, who was the highlight of the Fantastic Four movies, can move objects with his mind; Fanning can see the future; Belle and Hounsou can force others to do whatever they say. In the movie, Evans and Fanning find themselves as unlikely partners in a race against time as they work to prevent secret agents, led by Hounsou, from succeeding with their dastardly plans.
Push got panned by critics and was ignored by audiences, and thus was forced to wait idly by until its release on DVD. Let's just say that expectations were low. Thankfully, Push is much better than expected, offering up some pretty decent special effects, lots of action and at least an attempt at a serious plot. It isn't spectacular, but it is surprisingly worthwhile.
Push is like an action-packed mini-version of "Heroes" with a larger budget. It also feels a lot like Jumper, only it has a plot (which was one of Jumper's primary weaknesses). Some of the action sequences are surprisingly well done, especially considering a rather tiny $38 million budget.
Still, the movie isn't perfect. It doesn't have the character development of "Heroes," for better or for worse. The acting is fine, but we've seen much better from Evans and especially from Fanning, who is shockingly sexed up in the film despite only being 13. More than anything else, though, the film will find itself being compared to Jumper, thanks in part to both its theme and its similar release date. Personally, I enjoyed Jumper, though agree that the complete lack of a plot was a major letdown; Push is better in that its characters actually make sense, the actors try a little harder and it has a plot. Nevertheless, it is more Jumper-esque than it is like X-Men, and that's a problem.
Push suffers from its own limitations - its small budget, lack of big, marketable stars and similarities to other stories - but keeping those limitations in mind, it's surprisingly effective. It won't win any awards, but Push is entertaining and action-packed. Expect that, and you'll enjoy it. Also, Evans should be happy that Push is much better than the God-awful Fantastic Four movies.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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