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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Push (2009) Action PG-13

Push (2009) - There are people among us with special powers, telekinesis, thought control, seeing the future. Since WWII the governments around the world have been trying to harness these abilities to make super soldiers. It is a cruel use of these people against their will and has killed thousands over the decades while trying to develop a drug to enhance abilities. It has to stop!
This is the basic premise of Push, starting with a flashback to define the main character as a man who in childhood watched the government agency in charge of specials (The Division) kill his father. The movie leaps to the present ten years later as the man, Nick (Chris Evans) hides out in Hong Kong trying to avoid teams Division "sniffers", agents who can find specials by touching and smelling there personal belongings. (We would call them perverts) Nick is contacted by a clairvoyant named Cassie (Dakota Fanning), a 13 year old who has seen in visions that Nick can help her get to a women who escaped the Division with a syringe of r-16(?), a drug that will boost abilities. The plot only gets more complicated from there. Division is looking for the girl and has seen Nick finding her in visions. The Chinese are also seeing this with their clairvoyant and are after the pair. Actions sequences ensue with running and screaming by "bleeder" who kill you by yelling and making you bleed with the sound.
The pair find the girl who escaped, Kira (Camilla Belle), a former girlfriend of Nick, who was helped to escape by Cassie's mother the best clairvoyant in the Division. They have to recover the case that has the drug and was hidden by Kira before she had her memory cleaned by another kind of special. This part was sketchy as the Chinese clairvoyant was better at it than Cassie so could track our heroes. They involve several other specials to help them. Nick comes up with an idea that he will write notes to all the people involved in getting the case, not tell Cassie what is in them and the team using there special abilities will successfully get the drug and take down the Division saving Cassie's mom. Since the Chinese are tuned to Cassie what she doesn't know they don't know. From there there is action and thrilling effects. Each person plays there part perfectly. In fact you could say that it was a one in a billion chance that people would open there letters at the right time and the plan would work. Magically this is what happens, even though Nick can't see the future he guesses just right, they get the case and the movie ends.
What I liked: hmmm... it was a story, I mean I was not wishing it was over. I liked Djimon Hounsou as the leader of the division but he was underutilized.
What bothered me about it? Well there just was not a big stake for the audience in this one. The characters were one dimensional really only developing Cassie and Nick and even that was limited. The bad guy, has to be a real bad guy. You have the wonderful actor Djimon Hounsou play Henry carver the Division's head guy but he just was not evil enough to make you want to hate him and thus pull for our underdogs. In today's action films they never, NEVER kill off the main characters, everyone always comes out unscathed, why bother creating back story from past trauma if everything we see now does not change the characters at all. It is all just an adventure with no consequences to the character, just to their circumstances. Where is the growth arc? Physical harm does not count, sure when the action is done the characters are often bruised and battered but they have won, and those scars heal. Where is the damage to their souls? The last thing that bothered me is the non ending, they win in an obvious way but it is never clear that they accomplished "taking down the Division" or getting Cassie's Mom out of their hands. We have a reveal about Cassie's Mom but that does not stop the filmmakers from stopping in a place that would allow a sequel if this movie does well.
Okay I said a lot about what bothered me but let me restate something I have said in the past. I am not a real fan of today's style of action film. I am always it seems left a bit empty by the lack of depth these films have. During the movie I was mildly interested and could easily ignore the stupid "buddy movie" writing they did between Nick and Cassie. That said they rating may be worse than expected. If you like action movies you may enjoy this. I didn't but it seems to be a predisposition.
Rating (5.8)

Grip - A general-purpose handyman, the movie set's counterpart of the theater's stagehand. His duties include laying dolly tracks, moving flats, setting up parallels, building platforms, placing reflectors and gobos, doing light carpentry, and generally performing tasks that require brawn.

Key Grip - The head grip on a film set, in charge of a group of men, usually numbering from five to fifteen.

Key Grip: W.C. "Chunky" Huse although IMDB fails to list him under the movie.

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