Push (2009) [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Science Fiction / Thriller
Summit Entertainment || PG13 - 111 minutes - $34.99 || July 7, 2009
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2009-06-23


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

B L U - R A Y
.:: EXCLUSIVES ::.

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Paul McGuigan
Writer(s): David Bourla (written by)
Cast: Chris Evans, Dakota Fanning, Camilla Belle, Djimon Hounsou


Theatrical Release Date: February 6, 2009


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Feature Commentary
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Featurette


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

February 2008 saw the release of Doug Liman’s Jumper, a sci-fi thriller starring Hayden Christensen with Samuel L. Jackson as the villain. One year later (a week short), teen sci-fi thriller Push was released this time starring Chris Evans and Djimon Hounsou as the villain. The comparison doesn’t stop there: both films are fairly forgettable and they also presumed enough success for potential sequels, something which may not happen for either.

Push stars Chris Evans as Nick Gant, a young man with telekinetic abilities to move objects and throw objects (including people) across the room. As a kid, Nick witnessed the murder of his father (who had the same ability) but a man named Henry Carver (Djimon Hounsou), a government agent in charge of capturing powerful humans and performing experiments. One such experiment involves a new drug that can enhance a person’s power; problem is it also can kill the individual.

The plot gets rolling when one such subject, Kira Hudson (Camilla Belle) escapes, with the experimental drug — with the help of a “watcher”— from the facility after being injected with this drug. Now everyone in the “Division” scour Hong Kong (where all this goes down) for this woman, plus anyone connected to her... including Nick. After Sniffs, people with the ability to “see” where someone has been via an object, pay a visit to Nick, he receives an invitation for help from young and inexperienced Watcher, Cassie (Dakota Fanning). Cassie has had visions of Nick and how to find Kira who has the key to possibly brining down the Division.

Meanwhile, others in Hong Kong also want to find her and the drug she stole, including a family consisting of a powerful Watcher and her “Bleeders” brothers who with a high pitch scream can shatter one’s eardrums and with prolonged use, can kill them.

You can pretty much figure out the rest. We are introduced to more people with these special powers (Shifters, Shadows, Stitchers, etc) who either help or hinder Nick and Cassie’s efforts to find Kira and get this drug before the Division does.

Push actually isn’t that bad of a movie and in fact had some entertaining moments, but it also felt underdeveloped when it came to the script and miscasting when it came to Dakota Fanning who I do applaud for trying to escape from the sweet girl mold Hollywood had cornered her into. The biggest transgression Push made, however, was it had so much squandered potential. It’s obvious that writer David Bourla had created an interesting world that wasn’t just a mere “X-Men” knockoff (which was my initial feelings when the film began).

Another issue, like Jumper, it was obvious this was supposed to be a set-up for potential sequels, but at the same time what the film sets up for a sequel came across as a missing third act rather than an entirely new second film. That’s where Push departs. As average of a film that Jumper was, it still set things up for what could’ve a franchise-saving sequel. Alas, I’m not sure if Fox will go through with it and ditto for Push which only managed a $31m domestic gross (against a $30m budget).

Even the casting and acting was pretty average and forgettable. First, Chris Evans as the de facto main character is just a toned down version of Johnny Storm from the Fantastic Four movies while the beautiful Camilla Belle was tragically underutilized. Then you have the “adult” of the film, Djimon Hounsou, did not have much of an impact in the grand scheme of things.

One thing the movie does have going for it is a visual punch by director Paul McGuigan who previously helmed Wicker Park (underrated IMO) and Lucky Number Slevin, a movie I sadly have yet to see. Although the actual style in how he directs isn’t that fascinating, he does manage to bring in some nice neon colors without making it bleed off the screen or made it seem cheesy (i.e. Batman & Robin).



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Push comes with a shiny slip cover but not a whole lot in terms of features, though I guess given the box office disappointment (a mere $45m worldwide), it’s not too surprising.

First up is a feature commentary with director Paul McGuigan and actors Chris Evans and Dakota Fanning. The trio give their thoughts, McGuigan especially, give their thoughts on the story and basically just lay everything out as it happens as well as talk about what hooked them in.

Next up are four deleted scenes (3:19; HD) with optional commentary by McGuigan. There’s really not much of interest in any of these scenes so they were rightly excised from the final film.

Last is The Science Behind the Fiction (9:17; HD) featurette that examines the possible realities of these powers and how they could exist in the real world. It features interviews with the director and others from a retired military man.

I’m not sure why the release is so short on features. I have to think they made featurettes on the visual effects or on the making of the film itself.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

Push is presented with its original 2.35 aspect ratio and 1080p high-definition. Although I don’t feel this is an amazing high-def video transfer, it still looks quite good with a nice balance of colors and black levels as well as details on the actors’ faces. I noticed the occasional grain or noise but it wasn’t too heavy or distracting. While not the best day and date Blu-ray release, it is still a good HD transfer.

The Blu-ray also comes equipped with a DTS-HD Master Audio track that does well when it comes to the score/soundtrack as well as dialogue (never once had a hard time understanding anyone) but was a little flat during a few of the action scenes, but this was probably more an issue with the sound design rather than the actual track. It’s not an outstanding mix but still quite good, much like the picture.



.::OVERALL::.

Push is a movie that was less disappointing, mainly because I had no expectations either way, and more in the line of wasted opportunities. I think the foundation for a cool small franchise was there but the pieces weren’t quite right especially with a story that probably needed a little more work (perhaps bringing in someone else to flesh the plot and characters more).