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The Division, a shadowy government agency, is genetically transforming citizens into an army of psychic warriors--and brutally disposing of those unwilling to participate. Nick Gant, a second-generation telekinetic or "mover," has been in hiding since the Division murdered his father more than a decade earlier. He has found sanctuary in densely populated Hong Kong--the last safe place on earth for fugitive psychics like him--but only if he can keep his gift a secret. Nick is forced out of hiding when Cassie Holmes, a 13-year-old clairvoyant or "watcher," seeks his help in finding Kira, an escaped "pusher" who may hold the key to ending the Division's program. Pushers possess the most dangerous of all psychic powers: the ability to influence others' actions by implanting thoughts in their minds. But Cassie's presence soon attracts the attention of the Division's human bloodhounds, forcing Nick and Cassie to flee for their lives. But they find themselves square in the crosshairs of Division Agent Henry Carver, a pusher who will stop at nothing to keep them from achieving their goal.
For more about Push and the Push Blu-ray release, see Push Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on June 24, 2009 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Starring: Dakota Fanning, Djimon Hounsou, Chris Evans, Camilla Belle, Cliff Curtis, Maggie Siff
Director: Paul McGuigan
» See full cast & crew
Push Blu-ray Review
A potentially decent movie is too cumbersome for its own good.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, June 24, 2009
Didn't see that one coming, did you?
The rear-end numbing, groan-inducing, watch-checking, "when will this be over?" movie event of the year, Push is like the kid on the elevator in a 50-story building that, pardon the pun, pushes all the buttons on the ground floor when everyone else just wants to get to the top without any added drama and misery. Push delivers, eventually, but in between a few nifty ideas and interesting action sequences are plenty of unnecessary stops along the way that slow down the experience considerably and, ultimately, make it a pain in the neck at best and a completely worthless trip at worst. Even more aggravating is that the idea behind Push is only a fair one, the movie just another in an ever-growing list of films that incorporate "people with special powers" and "shady government operatives" chasing each other with destructive and special-effects-laden results. Finally, the film plays out as far too convoluted for its own good, throwing characters, abilities, and elaborate counters to those abilities all over the place. It's hard to get a grasp on exactly what is going on, let alone follow the micro-details of the story.
Unbeknownst to most, the world is populated by people with extra-human powers. Telekinesis, foresight into the future, the ability to manipulate the appearance of objects, or the power to heal are but a few of the special attributes such individuals possess. Beginning with Nazi Germany and continuing into the present, governments all over the world have sought to find and control such individuals for the purpose of creating an unstoppable army. Experimental drugs used in hopes of boosting the natural abilities of captured specimens have resulted in the death of every patient -- until now -- when a young woman named Kira (Camilla Belle, 10,000 BC) survives her injection and escapes with another dosage of the drug. Sought by a clandestine government entity known as "the Division," Kira escapes to Hong Kong where she is also being sought by a "Mover" (a person with the power of telekinesis) named Nick (Chris Evans, Fantastic Four) and a "Watcher," (a person that can see the future) named Cassie (Dakota Fanning, Man on Fire). With the help of other special people throughout the city, Nick and Cassie attempt to track down Kira, as well as a valuable suitcase, before Henry Carver (Djimon Hounsou, Never Back Down) and the Division can find either.
Push is a fast-paced movie, but not in the traditional sense of the term. In fact, its rapid-fire introductions of characters, special abilities, plot developments, and background information slow the film considerably and to the point that it becomes an overbearing load to keep up with. For every twist and turn there's just too much going on to allow the narrative to flow and the story to develop cohesively, let alone completely logically. The concept here, though it feels like the plot to a bad X-Men film, delivers an interesting premise, but Push doesn't do a good job at explaining its intricacies, character motivations, or developments. The very basics are repeated several times, ad nauseam in one case, so that it's virtually impossible for anyone that's not sound asleep to figure out the film's primary structure and focus. As the film moves along, it becomes repetitive in other areas, particularly in the second act that focuses primarily on the two "Watchers" constantly scribbling theirs, and other's, fates, while the heroes move from one person to the next for advice on where to go, what to do, and who to visit. It's the sort of thing that seems better suited to a role-playing style video game where the universe has more of an opportunity to slowly, surely, and more elaborately develop. Crammed into a 111 minute motion picture, it's too much to absorb, and when a constantly-moving, jerky camera and split-second edits define the film's look, the end result is too much activity for too complicated a plot for a movie that seems to aspire to be nothing more than a generic special effects popcorn movie.
Fortunately, Push delivers exciting action sequences that help the audience remember they are still alive. "Chaos" best describes the film's finale, where special powers, gunfire, crashing structures, and all sorts of mayhem populate the frame. The special effects, save for the phony "floating gun" routine, are impressively reserved, blending into the frame and appearing far more natural than expected. Even the "floating gun" shootout impresses outside the visual effects, the scene tense, well-staged, and most importantly, novel in both concept and execution. In addition to solid special effects, the acting is sufficient in the context of the film; for the many split-second shots and cuts, the actors never seem to have but several seconds at any one time to emote any sort of meaningful effort. The primary hindrance to their performances, though, and even more damaging to them than the fast cuts, is the lack of character development. Despite their many plights, the tangled web of deception, and the constant threat of the various superpowers, none of them play as the least bit sympathetic. Each character seems a cold, lifeless individual serving only the purpose of advancing the plot. Unfortunately, no matter how good or bad a plot may be, lest it is populated by well-developed or at least interesting characters, it's bound to fail, and in the case of Push, the combination of lackadaisical characters, a confused structure, and an overly complex story spell a death sentence for the entire production.
Push Blu-ray, Video Quality
Push features an impressive 1080p, 2.40:1-framed Blu-ray transfer. The image delivers strong details far and wide, both in close-up and distance shots. The small tiles that make up the wall in Nick's apartment as seen in the beginning of the movie, the many beaten and worn locations around Hong Kong, facial hairs and pores, clothing, and most every other object in the film takes on a lifelike appearance with palpable textures that make them seem to jump off the screen. The transfer also features a noticeable depth of field that allows background images, particularly pedestrians far off in the distance, to appear well-defined, sharp, and realistic. Combined with a fair amount of nicely-rendered film grain, Push delivers a wonderful cinematic appearance throughout. The film features a rougher, noisier, sometimes brighter, sometimes darker, appearance during flashback scenes. Colors appear warm throughout and flesh tones therefore look rather red in most instances, but like the moderate amount of grain and the varied-in-appearance flashbacks scenes, this represents the natural, intended look of the film. Still, the myriad of colors seen in many places throughout the movie impress, particularly the nighttime Hong Kong shots that features a wide array of neon signs that display most every color imaginable. Also featuring dark and rich blacks, Push delivers a high quality 1080p visual treat for the eyes.
Push Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Push arrives on Blu-ray with a reference-quality DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack. Time and again throughout the movie the soundtrack impresses with an engaging and amazingly active and complete sound field. Music, dialogue, action sound effects, and environmental ambience all come through the entire soundstage to positively delightful effect. Music flows through the speakers and invades the listening area with lifelike precision, volume, and presence; whether a hard rock guitar riff, elevator music heard as a character walks past an open door, or the bass-heavy beats inside a night club, every note heard throughout Push sounds as crisp and lively as the real thing. Several scenes deliver action that devastates the aural senses; a scene in chapter three featuring screaming characters with the ability to shatter glass, pop fish, and blast out human dear drums, punishes the listening area with a devastating high pitch akin to a certain scene in perhaps Blu-ray's reigning reference-quality disc for audio, The Incredible Hulk. This scene, and several others throughout, serve as true reference points for powerful audio delivery. Also included are several instances of foundation-rattling bass, particularly heard during the film's climactic action sequence. Push's lossless soundtrack also handles subtler audio with ease; the crowded streets of Hong Kong come alive with all sorts of wonderful background noises that flow from each speaker and envelop the listening area. Whether chatter amongst the hundreds of people in the background, bells, or passing cars, the track effortlessly places listeners in the middle of the bustling city. Push is a contender for soundtrack of the year.
Push Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Push shoves its way onto Blu-ray with but a few supplements. First up is a commentary track with Director Paul McGuigan and Actors Chris Evans and Dakota Fanning. Each participant's voice plays in a separate speaker, the director in the middle, Fanning in the right, and Evans in the left. The director admits up-front, but more in a joking manner, that the film is hard to explain, and he proceeds to do his best. He also speaks of the filmmaking techniques employed, set design, the acting, and more, while the actors speak on what drew them to the roles, stories from the set, and other odds and ends. This giggly track is for fans only. The Science Behind the Fiction (1080p, 9:17) is a brief piece that looks at the history and range of differing psychic powers and how they play into the film. Finally, a collection of four deleted scenes (1080p, 3:19) with optional director commentary concludes the supplements.
Push Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Partially clever, partially coherent, and partially entertaining, Push has a few things going for it but the film never comes even close to putting it all together. Too kinetic, too complicated, and too cumbersome, the negatives outweigh the positives throughout making Push an experience that isn't worth the effort, especially considering a runtime that pushes two hours. Even a top-notch Blu-ray experience cannot save the film. Summit Entertainment has released Push with stunning picture quality and a system-selling soundtrack. Both do manage to make the movie a bit more tolerable, but with the plethora of Blu-ray discs currently available that offer a better movie alongside the marvelous technical presentations, this one is hard to recommend even as a rental, particularly considering only the smattering of extras that accompany the film. Just take the stairs instead, or better yet, leave the building.
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Push Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Joint Rebate Program for Summit's Knowing and Push - June 16, 2009
Summit Home Entertainment has positioned 'Knowing' and 'Push', its two new Blu-ray titles coming up on July 7, to support each other in sales. To do it, the studio is using cross-promotion and a rebate program: consumers who buy both titles can get $5 back by mail. ...
• Summit Announces Duo of Sci-fi Titles for July - May 11, 2009
Summit Entertainment has announced and detailed two science-fiction titles for their release on July 7 on Blu-ray, day-and-date with the DVD: 'Knowing' and 'Push'. Audio and video specs have not been disclosed at this time, though you can expect a 1080p video presentation ...
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