If there's any truth to the predictions of science fiction, the future doesn't look good for people with super powers. The message from X-Men, Heroes, and Firestarter is clear: those with awesome abilities will be hated and feared by large government entities, whom they'll have to do battle against to avoid capture, exploitation, and extermination. The cliche of the persecuted mutants is such a given in this flavor of sci-fi, it's almost crossed over from hackneyed to canonical, so it seems strange that the 2008 sci-fi action thriller Push takes great, repetitive pains to explain it.
Then again, maybe Push doesn't actually spend any more time lingering over the oft-heard details of mutant imprisonment than any other movie in the genre, it just feels like it does. It's hard to tell when everything else in the film is a little stale, too -- especially the romance between leading man Chris Evans and dead-behind-the-eyes Camilla Belle. But all that being said, Push could still be a lot worse; it's not riddled with the chintzy production values, trite dialogue, or cringe-worthy acting that usually mar science fiction, and in between moments of rehashing mythology from the Marvel universe, it does come up with some novel new ideas of its own.
So, really, with most of the movie's faults laid plainly on the table, it's only fair to point out the things Push has going for it: the story takes place in Hong Kong, which evokes a cool, beat-down, Blade Runner-esque vision of the future; super-powered mutants all fall into a handful of neat categories ("Shifters" can manipulate light and color, "Watchers" can see the future, etc.); Dakota Fanning never delivers on the preemptive awkwardness you feel when you discover she'll be spending the movie in a miniskirt; and there's a scene where a guy with telekinesis holds a gun to another guy's head -- with his brain.
So Push is really a mixed bag. It has some great imagery and more than one high-quality action sequence -- and Lord knows all movies could use more floating guns -- but if your tolerance for repetition in genre films is already low, this one will probably push you right over the edge. leave a comment --Cammila Albertson