A rather wild, neon-soaked sci-fi picture from director Paul McGuigan ("Lucky Number Slevin"), "Push" may invite comparisons to Doug Liman's disappointing "Jumper", but - despite its flaws - "Push" offers a more entertaining, engaging story about young people dealing with unusual abilities. While the superhuman abilities started with Nazi experiments, the experiments were then continued by governments around the world, many of whom set up Divisions, which want to use those with special powers as super soldiers. Some of the gifted are "seers" (psychics), some are "movers", some "pushers" and some even "sniffers", among other varieties.)
Early in the film, one of the gifted, Kira (Camilla Belle) escapes from the location Division HQ right after they injected her with a drug that was intended to maximize her powers. Being the only one to live through the experiment, it's not long before agents, lead by Henry Carver (Djimon Hounsou), want to track her down and get back something they believe she has.
One day, Nick is approached by Cassie (Dakota Fanning), a young woman who warns Nick that she's seen a top-secret briefcase that is about to fall into the hands of the division, but if Nick and Cassie get their hands on it first, they can bring down Division once and for all. Or something. "Push" really isn't much for plot - despite the fact that this is a fairly chatty movie at times, it's not really about all that much at the core of it (and what there is there doesn't always make a whole lot of sense.)
While the plot is something of a scattered mess at times (and takes more than a little from other films), McGuigan's bold style (which puts to use the dazzling Hong Kong setting quite well) somewhat makes up for the film's faults. The director also has a way with action, with a fight sequence in an Asian restaurant that looks like something out of the "Matrix" films. The performances are also not half bad, with Evans playing a somewhat toned-down version of his "Fantastic Four" character and Belle, Fanning and Honsou providing fine supporting efforts.
It's really too bad that the script could have been a bit more streamlined and refined - with McGuigan's style and a stronger script, this could have been a gritty, exotic "X-Men". The various supernatural powers that the characters have in this film are rather clever and well-realized, but their dialogue isn't quite so super. Overall, "Push" is something of a mixed bag, but McGuigan is still certainly a director with a lot of potential. The picture is style-over-substance - and while the style is often breathtaking, a little more substance would have gone a long way.
VIDEO: "Push" is presented by Summit Entertainment in 2.35:1 (1080p/AVC) and the results are first-rate. Sharpness and detail often impress, as the director's sleek, bold visual style is certainly well-represented by this transfer. The picture often shows solid depth to the image and small details (hairs, smaller details in the backgrounds in the Hong Kong locations) are often crisp and clear. Aside from a touch of grain and a slight instance or two of edge enhancement, the presentation looked impressively smooth and clean. Colors looked thrillingly bold and well-saturated, with no smearing or other faults.
SOUND: Presented in DTS-HD 5.1, the film's audio remained as punchy and intense as the movie. Surrounds are frequently put to enjoyable use for discrete effects, very nice ambience and some mild reinforcement of the score. Audio quality was quite good, with clear, natural-sounding dialogue and dynamic, crisp effects.
EXTRAS: Commentary with director Paul McGuigan and actors Chris Evans and Dakota Fanning, deleted scenes and "The Science Behind the Fiction" featurette.
Final Thoughts: "Push" offers a few satisfactory performances and a bold, sometimes dazzling visual style. Where the film falls mildly short is the script. The Blu-Ray edition offers excellent audio/video quality, as well as a few nice extras. Rent it.
The Film C+