It’s easy to resist the pull of Push



By Matt Brunson



STARS Chris Evans, Dakota Fanning

If Push comes to shove, then the only sound advice is to stay away from the theater and re-watch X-Men on DVD. Certainly, that's an infinitely superior mutant movie, yet don't think Push's plagiarism ends there: It's almost a given that the pitch meeting found the film's creators, uh, pushing the picture by declaring, "It's X-Men meets Jumper meets Heroes meets The Matrix!" Had they any sense of integrity, they would have ended the sentence by adding, "Only not very exciting or enjoyable!" In short, here's another sci-fi muddle that never breaks out of its geekspeak ghetto, with David Bourla contributing an overly busy screenplay that doesn't always come together and Paul McGuigan providing draggy direction that takes this far past the point of audience involvement.

Set in Hong Kong, the film centers on the Division, a U.S. government branch whose members are tasked with seeking out folks with psychic abilities and either recruiting them or (if that fails) killing them. These psychics have different powers, which places them into one of several different categories: Pushers, Watchers, Movers (but, alas, no Shakers), Bleeders, etc. Nick (Chris Evans), a Mover, has tried to maintain a low profile, but once Cassie (Dakota Fanning), a teenage Watcher, shows up and insists he help her find Kira (stiff Camilla Belle), a Pusher who holds the answer to taking down the Division, all hell breaks loose, as Division agents (led by Djimon Hounsou as a suave Pusher) and evil Asian psychics try to take them down.

Some interesting ideas soon get buried under a jumbled narrative, a choppy shooting style and an unflattering visual scheme — all of which combine to make viewers feel as if they're watching a movie from inside a spinning clothes dryer.

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