Forgotten Gems: Push

Nerdling Tales takes a mostly spoiler free look at cult classics mostly overlooked by the public, movies that failed so hard they won, and the “what in the hell were they thinking” flicks. Join her as she reminisces about what makes these movies so interesting and full of hopeful sequel potential, and yet the general movie going population tends to forget their existence.

In honor of Chris Evans wanting to stay with Marvel for as long as they want to keep him, we are going to look at Push which is Evan’s second attempt at being a superhero after the disastrous Fantastic Four movies. By-the-by, some other fun MCU names pop up in this one.

Released: February 4, 2009
Director: Paul McGuigan
Writer: David Bourla
Stars: Camilla Belle, Dakota Fanning, Chris Evans, Djimon Hounsou, Corey Stoll, Cliff Curtis, Ming-Na Wen, Maggie Siff, Xiaolu Li, Neil Jackson, Nate Mooney

Push is not a great movie, but it is pretty damn entertaining. It was shot guerrilla style in Hong Kong with as many practical effects as possible. It is also an attempt to be original with the superhero like story, as in it is not based on any comic book. The government is experimenting on those with supernatural like powers and using them as weapons. This is based on real-life experiments both the US government and Russian government have done in the past but have since been shut down. The film proposes that these people really do exist and the government still has the projects going.

There are a few different supernatural category types at play:
• Mover – Easy lingo for Telekinetic
• Pusher – They can implant thoughts into the brain of another person
• Watcher – They can see the future based on decisions made by others
• Bleeder – They emit a high pitch noise that cause blood vesicles to burst
• Stitcher – They can heal or hurt someone with their touch
• Sniffer – They can “sniff” the location of someone by using something they have touched
• Shadow – They can “shade” someone from a Sniffer and if they are powerful enough, a watcher as well
• Wiper – They can remove someone’s memory
• Shifter – They can temporarily reshape an object to look like something else

Did you follow so far? Awesome!

The movie is essentially about getting the girl and saving the world from a super serum that could enhance people with powers and turn them into super weapons. The girl is Kira (Belle) and she is a Pusher. She is the only person to survive the testing of the super serum and she escapes the facility with a syringe of it. Evans plays Nick, a Mover who is hiding in Hong Kong from The Division, a CIA like cell of the US government that experiments on and controls those who have powers. He meets Cassie (Fanning), a Watcher who needs his help to find Kira and the briefcase containing the super serum because her mother told her she and Nick would be able to keep The Division from hurting others if they find the briefcase. Everyone else is chasing Nick around because he and Kira used to be a thing before she was captured and experimented on. The Hong Kong government and some gangsters with powers want to find the syringe so they can enhance their powers. While looking for Kira, Nick and Cassie meet a few other persons with powers and they eventually help to try and save the day because no one wants to get caught by The Division.

McGuigan tries his best to use people’s powers (especially the Pushers) to help make the action look better than it actually does. Using the guerrilla style of filming gives the movie a chaotic like feel, keeping the tension of the movie high when there is some lagging moments. The colorfulness of Hong Kong streets and the surrounding culture is showcased beautifully. Evans is a bit on the bland side, but he does his best to pull off a smarmy, down on his luck guy. It is a nice change from him just playing a hunky guy. Fanning gets to be a bit more grownup-esc, in fact I think this is the first movie where she curses and she gets drunk. Of course she is given a lot of shit for being the youngest member of the group. Evans and Fanning make for a good brother/sister like team, every scene they share is really enjoyable to watch. The chemistry between Evans and Belle is okay, but fortunately the love story is brief and we get back to the action fast. The only real downer is Cutis and Wen look kinda bored thru the whole thing. For Wen the boredom comes off as a character trait in the beginning, but when the action starts to go down she still looks uninterested. Curtis at least tries a little when things get a little crazy.

The despite being an enjoyable movie, it is kinda forgettable after watching. Even though McGuigan and Bourla try to add something new to the superhero genre, the story as a whole is not compelling enough to leave a lasting impression. I think if there was more done with the action and exploring how the powers could be used in other ways, it would have been a much better movie. There was some potential for sequel, but there was no box office numbers to greenlight one.

Those of you who have seen Push, what did you think? Did you like Chris Evans second attempt at a superhero role? Did you like the colorful, chaoticness of the movie? Let me know in the comments section.

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About Nerdling

The Nerdling has an unhealthy obsession with books, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Star Wars. She finds hockey to be the best sport in the world (Go Dallas Stars!) and is working on her first novel, but mostly glowers at a blank screen. You can find her on Twitter @nerdlingstale on Facebook @NerdlingTales or Instagram @nerdling_tales

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