Thursday, July 9, 2009
Push is the kind of charming B movie that hardly ever gets made any more. Small scale, you could almost call it intimate, it’s a programmer in the best sense of the word. The type of decent genre fare that hardly ever gets made anymore since this type of film almost inevitably get’s needlessly roided up to a 200 million dollar film. Why this is bad for the film has been written before, and I won’t rehash, all I can say is a lot of good movies aren’t getting made because of this thinking. There’s a reason John Carpenter and Joe Dante haven’t had a new movie out in almost a decade, their niche has been taken out from under them.
To be fair I’m in the minority here. I remember Push coming out and thinking that I should see it, and then shit just getting in the way. So I apparently didn’t notice that it ranks somewhere lower then Battlefield Earth for most critics. 36 on Metacritic (for comparison 12 Rounds the Renny Harlin, John Cena master work has a 38) and a freaking 22 on Rotten Tomatoes. Reviews have been vicious and I can’t really figure out why.
I mean the film’s not perfect, it’s definitely jargon heavy, playing like it’s already a sequel, the budget is definitely limited (which is once again kind of what I like about it). It’s more or less live action anime, for all the good and bad that implies, stylized, built around gimmicks, mythology heavy, and fast moving.
The story under the film’s dense terminology is pretty simple. Focusing on a group of psychics battling to keep a test subject and wonder drug out of the hands of an evil Government Agency and the Hong Kong Crime Families.
Still there’s a lot to like about Push. It’s fast moving, and has a creative sense of how to play with it’s powers and ideas. The Hong Kong setting gives it a unique exotic flavor, and the actors don’t condescend to the material. Djimon Hounsou clearly relishing not having to play noble, tears into the bad guy. Chris Evans, an actor who gets a bad rap by virtue of the fact that most of his movies are awful, sells his role as the lead. Particularly when he’s playing off of Dakota Fanning, in a performance that tips nicely towards the Jodie Foster rather then Brad Renfro side of the scale, with whom he develops a nicely believable fraternal bond that gives the film it’s heart.
The film moves fast, has a good sense of action, and has a lot of fun thinking of creative ways to tweak the subjects powers. It’s nice to see a movie refuse to stop at point A for once.
Push is a charming experience, an old school Saturday matinee that made me more then a little nostalgic. It’s a movie I have a lot of affection for, the kind of movie I grew up loving. And I’m happy to put it on the shelf next to Highlander, Hellboy and Christine