Today’s film was described by my good self upon watching it, as the middle part of a trilogy that never existed. And if this trilogy actually existed, I would watch the crap out of it. That’s how much I dig this movie. Another thing the film has going for it – it appeals to the part of me that really digs “comic book movies from comics that never were” (the same appeal that comes from Unbreakable), in fact, a prequel mini-series WAS released through DC. The film in question? Push.
Push tells the story of a war between a shady government agency who want to create a breeds of superpowered soldiers, and those with the abilities who don’t want to be used that way. Focusing primarily on Nick, a Mover; Kira, a Pusher and Cassie, a Watcher as they try to not only escape the government sponsored Sniffs that are on their trail, but also a family of Bleeders as they all chase down a rogue $6M. “Wait a minute, what are these terms you are using”, I hear you ask. Well, since I’m a nice guy, I will tell you what they mean: As you may have guessed, they are types of superpowers, but here is what they do –
· Watchers: have the power of precognition
· Movers: have the powers telekinesis
· Pushers: are able to implant false memories and thoughts in others
· Bleeders (aka, Screamers or Screechers): can emit a high pitched sonic wave that ruptures blood vessels
· Sniffs: can track targets over great distances
· Shifters: can temporarily alter people’s perception of objects by changing how light interacts with said object
· Wipers: have the power to temporarily or permanently erase memories
· Shadows: the only power that can block Sniffs by making a target go “dark”
· Stitches: psychic surgeons who can manipulate bodies at the cellular level
And now you know. You are as up to date as you need to be for the story to unfold. Enjoy.
The first major thing that you notice, and when movies do things like this, I love it – they waste no time with serious amounts of back story (yeah, there are a few minutes and that is it) and just throw you into the story with little more than a few words of “so, this is what’s happening”. They never try to over-explain the story; instead let it unfold when it needs to, with the key information revealed when it should be. Sure, the film won’t ever win a major award (nor likely be remembered in a century), but it does at least treat it’s viewers with some respect and intelligence enough to not need everything spelled out at all times.
Another awesome thing about the film is the fact that it was actually filmed where it takes place – Hong Kong (don’t get me wrong, I do love playing a game of “obvious stand in town is obvious” from time to time, but I really dig it when people go for THAT level of authenticity – it really is a dying part of the medium of film). It could be the fact that I am a huge fan of the city, and also the Dark Heavens series of books, which also take place in Hong Kong – but seeing that place actually living on screen in front of me made me smile, and definitely went a long way towards letting the story live. It’s one thing to have well done sets, but when those sets are pre-existing places in a city as rich as Hong Kong, there is just an extra “wow” factor that a movie has – and Push has that. In spades.
Now, to the acting – first things first, it was this film that actually made me a fan of Chris Evans. Sure, I’d enjoyed him in Not Another Teen Movie, and found him at least tolerable in the Fantastic Four films, but it was this that made me an actual fan – of course, it certainly hasn’t hurt that everything he’s done since has been awesome. Yes, as Nick, he’s not stretching any major acting skills –but the character is believable without going too over the top (given the subject matter, we start pretty much at the OTT line, but nothing goes particularly crazy OTT – especially for a comic book fan). Dakota Fanning is always awesome as Cassie, a young Watcher who hates her power but does what she needs to do – I’ve long since said that she is going to have a long, amazing career; and I’ve never seen anything to make me doubt that (not even War Of The Worlds). In addition to those two, they are backed up by a great support cast; Camilla Belle as Kira, the key to everything; Djimon Honsou and Neil Jackson as the government agent pursuing them (yes, also superpowered); Cliff Curtis, Ming Na, Maggie Siff and Nate Mooney as various other superpowers, and some pretty awesome Chinese actors including Xiaolu Li, Jacky Heung and Biu Che rounding out the cast.
With so many films being made every year (more and more each year, since technology has made it possible for ANYONE to be a filmmaker these days – for good and for bad), it stands to reason that many films will fall by the wayside, and that is a shame. Especially when the film is actually good. Sure, Push isn’t for everyone (nothing is), but if you like superpower comicbooks (particularly those of a Vertigo/ABC bent), then you’ll dig this film.