By Fred Topel | Images property of Summit Entertainment
Push is like Scanners if Scanners had been good. It's not great, but it's a perfectly fine version of psychics on the run versus the bad guys.
It starts off with references to division and watchers so we're in that world and we can follow it. Then it decides to explain all the backstory about Nazi experiments. We don't really need a reason for this. Just being awesome is enough. Then they mention sniffers so they respect us again.
The fact that the main characters aren't that great at their powers is interesting. They even use it for personal gain. Also, identifying time frames as the past, present day and finally two days from now is cute.
It looks like an indie movie with saturated colors and weird angles. That gives the effects a different sort of impact. I mean, we've seen this stuff grounded in reality before, but in indie-land is a different sort of surreality. That makes it the most unique science fiction vision since The Matrix.
They still use handheld camera, but at least it looks like the guy holding it has a steady hand. There are enough steady shots peppered in to make it look like a real movie.
All the little details of the powers are cool: seeing the entire journey of a cup, and really screwing with people's minds. The CG eye twitches are cool. It's a subtle aesthetic that makes it original. It doesn't have to be all flash.
Dakota Fanning is cool and badass. She speaks action dialogue as well as she does wise beyond their years children's. Chris Evans has perfected the cocky self-interest that somehow audiences don't hate, which is of course the essence of action heroes. The different characters they encounter are all played by recognized faces so they're all credible. Even the screaming Asian stereotypes are formidable.
Some of the visual effects don't quite sell it. I didn't think the floating guns looked real, but I still buy into the idea. The ideas are worth exploring, and ideas are always better than effects. The action scenes are like Jackie Chan without any bodies performing the stunts.
The story is just a corrupt agency trying to build superweapons, but that's okay. It's a good enough story. Again, awesome is all that matters. They still explain too much though. They could shave off a good 15 minutes and have a tighter film.
The middle section is lightest on action but it maintains suspense and small thrills. That's about what we used to expect from mid-year action movies, so it's only by today's standards that it falls short.
They totally set up a sequel at the end too. We'll see if it gets that far. If they do, I'll watch it. I'll only watch it once, but I'll still see where they go with it.