February 05, 2009


Isn't that skirt how the whole "Hounddog" problem started?

Grade: C –
Director: Paul McGuigan
Starring: Colin Ford, Joel Gretsch, Djimon Hounsou, and Dakota Fanning
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hour, 51 minutes

X-Men meets Jumper meets Heroes meets the theater exit door in Push, an inert bit of sigh-fi that is as lifeless as it is indecipherable. A gaggle of CW-spawn inherit superhuman powers ranging from telekinesis to clairvoyance to supersonic shrieking to Jedi mind tricks, all originating once upon a time with WWII-era Nazi experimentation (of course). Today, a shadowy arm of the U.S. government called only the “Division,” led by a mind-probing Push played by Djimon Hounsou, hunts down mutants for research purposes.

This is where things get murky (ok, murkier). A couple of mutants, telekinetic Nick (Chris Evans) and psychic Cassie (Dakota Fanning), team up to…well, I dunno: prevent their own deaths; recover a missing vial of super serum before a gang of Chinese mutants can lay hands on it; protect Nick’s former squeeze, Kira (Camilla Belle), who escaped from a government laboratory; all of the above; none of the above, etc.

In trying to craft a thinking man’s science fiction thriller, director Paul McGuigan (Lucky Number Slevin; Wicker Park) forgets the thrills while contorting the mindbending storyline beyond cohesion. The too-few true action sequences involving rival Movers Nick and Victor (Neil Jackson) are the film’s lone highlight. Otherwise, how many times can you watch actors scream at the camera or depict telepathic prowess by twitching their hands and rolling their eyes back in the heads? Funny, someone must have read my mind, because eye-rolling is how I spent most of the time watching this ho-hum hokum.

Neil Morris

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