22 February 2011

Movies: Push

Push http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0465580/

The 2009 Sci-Fi/Fantasy thriller about folks with varying enhanced psychic abilities.  Not to be confused with the (at least 3) other movies titled "Push" or "Precious: Based on the novel Push by Sapphire".

Background: Hitler and the Nazis attempted to make a super-army of people by experimenting to heighten special psychic abilities - like precognition, telekinesis, mind control, etc. After the defeat of Germany, other countries continued those experiments. As a result some people were made/born with these heightened talents. The government 'Divisions' continue to control and experiment on these folks. Some have escaped. The Division tracks the more powerful of them down to reclaim them.

This story follows a few of the non-Division folks that have these abilities. A girl, 2nd generation child of a Divison experimentee, was captured by Division and injected with an experimental ability-enhancing drug. She steals a syringe with the drug and escapes. Division tracks her down to Hong Kong and is desperately trying to reclaim her and the syringe before it falls into foreign Division hands. A group of other escaped-from or up-until-now ignored-by Division folks are also trying to track her down to save her.  Events forseen years before begin to unfold.  


The title "Push" comes from the term applied to the type of psychic folks who can "push" realities into another's mind - basically make the target think what the "pusher" wants them to think, to the point of rewriting personal history or acting completly out of character.  There are other types, like sniffers, shifters, watchers, shadows, wipers, bleeders, etc. Each has just one enahnced ability, there doesn't seem to be any folks that have multiples. And the chance to have abilities seems to be able to be passed to subsequent generations, with varying results in type and strength.  Thankfully the types do get named and explained during the course of the movie, so it isn't hard to keep up with things.


Although some details to make the story work are many and sometimes complex, as it has to paint a picture of its world coupled with events put into motion decades before the 'now' of the movie, things get explained rather plainly to the viewer as the story unfolds. It isn't too hard to keep up with what is going on, when it's going on, etc. The story seemed paced well enough to get the movie from start to finish, and seems to stay true to itself in the world it paints. I didn't notice any glaring plot holes or things we get told that get ignored later on.


Is the storyline original? Well, most everything 'psychic' has been covered in other films/books/etc, this is just a different take on them. The film seems as much about the characters and the story as it is about the abilities. The flick seemed to end on a note that leaves it open for a sequel, as the overarching motivation for everything happening never gets resolved to completion.  But this story is not about the overarching motivation - just one part that has to be resolved before the larger goal is achieved. So it's okay to leave the big goal unresolved as long as the point of the story introduced to us at the beginning is resolved. Right?


Has a pretty decent cast of recognizable actors, including Chris Evans (Human Torch - Fantastic Four), Dakota Fanning (child actor extraordinaire), Camilla Belle (seen in a few things including 10,000 BC), and Djimon Hounsou (tall bald black dude in Gladiator, The Island, Constantine, Blood Diamond, etc - you'll know him soon as you see him). Didn't see any performances that flopped in the flick.


There were a couple times when the post-production voice dubbing seemed ham-handedly mixed, especially up front in some city scenes. Not sure what was up with that. It was really obvious, compared with the rest of the flick's sound mix. So I have no idea what went so wrong for those scenes.  Decent camera work. The special FX weren't glaringly bad or over the top - just in there to enhance the story, which is a good thing.  Hong Kong made a good backdrop for the story too.


IMO it's an entertaining Sci-Fi/Thriller. Good popcorn movie.  Easily 3 of 5 stars. On it's current Showtime run TiVo has it listed as a 1-1/2 star flick, which seems low to me. But I dunno where TiVo gets its ratings.  It has a solid IMDB rating 6 of 10.  RottenTomatoes shows a critic rating of 23% -- maybe TiVo gets its ratings from RT? 23% seems low. A 5 or 6 out of 10 seems more on target. There are seriously worse movies out there with worse plots and worse acting. Heck it is a better flick than Fantastic Four, which got a 27% on RT critic rating.  If anything this flick could be likened to an X-Men type flick, only without the X-men, Captain Picard Professor X, a shape-shifting naked(ish) blue chick, crazy VTOL SR-71 lookin airplane, etc.  Certainly isn't any worse than the 3rd X-Men flick, or Origins: Wolverine for that matter.

(original post 22 Nov 2010)

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