Starring: Dakota Fanning, Chris Evans, Camilla Belle
Directed by: Paul McGuigan (“Lucky Number Slevin”)
Written by: David Bourla (“Larceny”)
No matter what time of the year, there always seems to be room for movies about individuals with superhuman abilities. Last year’s early entry into the genre was “Jumper,” a film about teleportation. This year, it’s “Push,” which centers on young Americans who possess telekinetic and clairvoyant abilities.
While “Push” might be enticing for regular fans of TV’s “Heroes,” the sci-fi thriller, directed by Paul McGuigan (“Lucky Number Slevin”), is listless at best. The small handful of action sequences might wake you from dozing off because of the needlessly complicated script, but there not much to hold your attention that you haven’t seen before.
In “Push,” Dakota Fanning – all grown up now and starring her first real big-girl movie (she has a drunk scene!) – plays Cassie Holmes, a pre-teen with psychic powers, who teams up with Nick Gant (Chris Evans), a young man with a novice ability to move things with his mind. Both are being hunted by a group known as the Division led by the film’s antagonist Henry Carver (Djimon Hounsou), who basically wants to turn them into WMDs. Cassie and Nick don’t have much time to worry about who is after them. They’re mission is to find Kira Hudson (Camilla Belle), a lost girl with supernatural powers, who knows the whereabouts of a briefcase that contains a serum that can turn people with paranormal powers into weaponry.
Despite some slight mainstream appeal (mostly from its slick, “Matrix”-like look), the film turns into a sci-fi vocabulary test where if you don’t know the difference (or don’t really care) between a “pusher” and a “sniffer” and a “seer” and a “watcher” and a “bleeder” and a “reader,” you might want to bail out early before things become more intricate than your average game of paper, rock, scissors.
Unlike most films of this type, “Pusher” isn’t a comic-book adaptation. Screenwriter David Bourla (“Larceny”) starts from scratch and builds the film’s mythology one character at a time. That seems to be the problem, however. Very little of the storyline feel authentic and logical, even from a science fiction standpoint, and all of the characters are about as interesting as the minors mutants running around in the background of movies like “X-Men” where Wolverine, Cyclops, and Storm dominate the screen. It might be a new universe, but after one quick tour there’s really no reason to revisit.