Pushers are described as people who can make others see what they want them to see. And minutes later they’re described instead as people who can simply push things with their minds guided by their hands. Often, “Push” can never seem to make heads or tails of itself but that doesn’t mean I didn’t have a good time getting to the end of the road with Paul McGuigan’s absolutely guilty pleasure of an actioner. “Push” belongs in that class of films I call “Not Quite X-Men,” movies that play out like origin stories to comic book characters and like the previous title “Jumper,” McGuigan’s “Push” aspires to be nothing more than a super powered “Fugitive” that uses all settings and space to make the best of a pretty thin plot and a pretty thin budget that takes the story to great levels of action and thrills.
McGuigan manages to squeeze in some rather great action pieces with the Pushers battling among the Hong Kong landscape that acts as a florescent and neon backdrop that helps fuel the style and flair that makes the film such a good thrill ride. “Push” is that kind of superhero movie without the source material and lives up to the promise for a franchise and perhaps an actual graphic novel. Chris Evans acts as an unlikely hero, one who isn’t quite familiar with his super powers yet but watches himself evolve through the course of the events alongside more superior warriors who give him a run for his money. Fanning is equally an unusual casting decision working well as Evans’ partner in crime in search of the McGuffin that will put an end to their trials.
Though it’s clear from the beginning that this is nothing more than a clunky bit of sci-fi lite, McGuigan and co. try their hardest to push the limits of what’s on screen and quite often manage to successfully pull it off. “Push” is for the folks looking for a break from Marvel and DC installments in the big screen, it’s an antidote to the superhero origin films and it’s one that just may ironically appeal to those who enjoy that type of fodder. Like “Jumper,” this is a movie I enjoyed watching with a huge smile on my face and will assuredly endure scorn for liking. One of the major problems with the script is that the McGuffin’s are constantly changing.
Are we supposed to care about these people because of the six million dollars they’re after, because our main baddie from “the Division” wants to start an army of these telekinetics, or for the power boosters that were stolen in the first half of the film? It’s constantly in search of a reason to keep us watching them and constantly looking for motivation to keep these characters on screen. By the end credits I wasn’t sure if anything had been accomplished in this cat and mouse game and wondered what in the hell the hooplah was upon watching. What do both the villains and heroes want anyway? Damned if we ever get to find out. “Push” is never sure what is motivating these characters and why we should gain an interest in them, but nonetheless director McGuigan pushes one hell of a fun guilty pleasure for 2009 taking the mantle for “Jumper.”