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Push (2009)  

Review: written Sep 2009

Push fails to pull it together

Push (2009)

The ordinary-people-with-super-ability genre is becoming a bit crowded these days. Push is the latest addition, and it seems determined to draw us in to this world enough to spawn a franchise. A respectable cast and interesting idea have been thrown together - this is a world where experimentation into enhancing psychic abilities has led to a group of people in the world who can use their mind to either move items, change their shape, or see the future, as well as various other interesting talents. `Division' is the government's attempt to use and develop these gifted people, and represents the bad guy. The story requires you to stay on your toes to keep up, involving Division's hunt for a runaway `pusher' (she can push thoughts into your mind and make you believe them) and her friends who are trying to save her (Chris Evans and Dakota Fanning). It's all set in Hong Kong, giving everything an interesting look and atmosphere, and providing the other element, the local family of psychics (the screamers are quite interesting..) who want the girl too. To say more would spoil the plot in case you do decide to persevere. I wanted to like this - I like the concept, like the locations.. but somehow it just failed to make me care much, and while the ideas of the psychic abilities are explored a little, it is only at the expense of our characters who might show a range of emotion, but never become anything more than two dimensional ciphers to further the machinations of the plot.

What really lets the film down, downgrading it from a popcorn-chewing-watchable 3 stars to a 2 stars, is a let-down ending. Rarely have filmmakers been quite so blatantly left everything hanging for a sequel.. the last time I remember was Jumper - and look nwhat happened to that would-be franchise. Probably that's a good benchmark - if you liked Jumper and did not mind the ending, then you may well like this.

In the end, the film strives so hard to become a franchise, that it forgets to stand on its own two feet. Memorable in places, but the sum is ultimately less than the parts.

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