100 Days of Superheroes- Day 79: Push (2009)
Captain America with telekinesis....it could work.
“Let’s see if you can push me before I pull the trigger!”
Chris Evans was most known at the time for his role in Sunshine and for the less than satisfactory Fantastic Four films. Hot off the latest superhero role, he is yet again roped into another scify/superhero feature that is almost worse than his role as the Human Torch, and that is saying something.
A note to filmmakers everywhere. Just because you put a green color filter on your grain filled lens and then shake it around so you can’t see anything does not mean you’re making the next Jason Bourne movie. It just means that your movie is now both incomprehensible in both screenplay and visuals. Such is the case for this film, which goes for the gritty shaky cam stylization popularized by the Bourne films.
The plot itself seems pretty straight forward at first glance. The world is full of people gifted with various psychic skills. A government program unoriginally called “Division” is gathering them up like Jews in Nazi Germany to be used as experiments and essentially put to death in a quest to get rid of them or turn them into controlled weapons. One of the girls being experimented on is the first survivor of a drug meant to enhance her abilities. She escapes with the only copy of the serum (because the idiots didn’t write down the formula I guess), she hides it, then gets her mind wiped.
This brings us to Chris Evans who is a low level telekinetic at the beginning of the film then miraculously becomes a master over the course of a few days. He goes from barely being able to roll dice to throwing people hundreds of feet without any real change or transition. The character then heads out to save his girlfriend and find the serum which will be used to….well…no one ever knows or finds out. I’m not sure why it is such a big deal because the girl who survived the treatment doesn’t ever show any outstanding power. In fact for most of the film she is helpless and needs to be saved. Some super serum.
The movie surprisingly has a very large collection of talented actors and it’s amazing that almost all of them give off a lackluster performance, with exception to Djimon Hounsou as the lead villain. Chris Evans does his best but the clumsy dialogue and poor direction drags down his entire performance. Same is the case with his costar, Dakota Fanning, who was one of the most talented child actors. She plays an irritating little girl who can draw the future. When together there are moments where they have some great interactions together, but most falls flat.
Cliff Curtis is also a welcome addition and has the most interesting power, which is barely focused on. I almost wished the movie had a lot more of him in it because he brought a certain amount of naturalness to the role that none of the other actors really fully achieved due to the mediocre script. Camille Belle who plays Evan’s girlfriend is stoned faced, boring, and serves as more of a plot device than a character.
Now some of the concepts within the film are fun. The many different psychic powers are interesting. However some didn’t make sense as being psychic. Such as the screaming sonic Asians, which appeared in one of the worst action scenes in recent history. It’s so bad that when I first saw this is theaters is had the entire room laughing. But back to the point! In what way is a sonic scream psychic?
In general the fight scenes were lackluster and boring. The entire film drags, spending all its time introducing the various characters and powers, until it gets to the third act. Once there the endgame is pretty fun, but the plan devised by Evan’s character is so convoluted and that he would also need prophetic skills in order to pull it off. It would only work if his character somehow knew how everyone would react to his little plan which involves about five fake cases and a couple of double crossings.
The film overall suffers under the weight of poor directional choices, convoluted script and incomprehensible climax that is enjoyable if you turn your brain off. If not you’ll quickly realize how it doesn’t exactly make a whole lot of sense. It’s a film that with a little better crew could have taken advantage of their great cast. In the end though, it was all just a waste.
FINAL RATING: 3/10- (30%)
Previous DAY 78- Watchmen
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