Saturday, March 7, 2009

Reel Thoughts: Push It

I love Dakota Fanning. I love looking at (if not listening to) Chris Evans. I even enjoy films about disaffected young people with weird magical abilities. What I don’t enjoy is loud, violent comic books sprung to life on the screen, which is what Push is. It’s a terrible title for an equally terrible movie, about a telekinetic man and a telepathic girl battling shadowy government agents in the ugliest sections of Hong Kong.

Everyone wants to get their hands on a girl named Kira, played by Camilla Bell, because she is the first of these genetically-altered kids to survive an injection of some weird formula meant to boost their powers (and make them unstoppable human weapons). Bell is as vapid as she was in 10,000 B.C., so it’s hard to tell when she’s been brainwashed. She is a “pusher,” meaning someone who can put their thoughts and ideas into your head, but it’s hard to believe that she has any.


Meanwhile, Fanning wears multi-colored hair and a short skirt and cusses, and as usual, she’s as good as the material allows. Evans makes for a bland action hero, as does Djimon Hounsou as his nemesis.

The X-Men films have mined this material much better, and I found the Hong Kong locales chaotic and dreary. Push has the kind of story that just doesn’t hold up to any sort of scrutiny, since certain characters possess powers that easily could have eliminated the need for most of the conflicts in the film. If Push comes to shove, opt for seeing Fanning’s Coraline instead.

UPDATE: Push is now available on DVD and Blu-rayfrom Amazon.com.

Review by Neil Cohen, resident film critic of Movie Dearest and Phoenix's Echo Magazine.

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