Push (2009): Breakdown by Rantbo
The X-Men comic’s ‘WEAPON X’ storyline, but instead of Wolverine, we follow two young Jean Greys and the Human Torch.
I refused to see this one in the theater, based purely on the rating. I don’t pay for PG-13 unless it’s something BIG, (THE DARK KNIGHT, INDIANA JONES, etc.) But I was still intrigued by the trailer and I made note to watch it on DVD. As I had yet to see a good “mutant” movie, what with the X-Men movies sucking sack and the TV show HEROES being borderline unwatchable. But, good news, someone has succeeded.
PUSH takes the elements from some of the best story-arcs of the late-80s/early-90s X-Men comics and tells a nice little adventure/mystery story about young people coping with the troubles of being different: hunted, imprisoned, killed, etc. for what makes them special. It’s essentially, the story that the original X-Men movie should have been, before Fox fucked it up and made it into a mess about Wolverine and his sidekick, Halle Berry. But, enough about that cow-flop of a franchise.
What really sells the borderline-stolen story of PUSH, are the characters and the actors playing them. Chris Evans is one handsome and charismatic dude, despite usually appearing in god-awful garbage and Dakota Fanning is still the best American actress under 40. Yeah, I said it.
I know she’s good, because unlike all the other kid actors (Abigail Breslin, Haley Joel Osment, Jake Lloyd) I’ve never felt like kicking her down a flight of stairs. Though–I didn’t watch CAT IN THE HAT or that chick flick with Brittany Murphy. But, whatever. How that chubby girl got nominated for doing a goofy dance, when Dakota hasn’t been, after a dozen great performances, is beyond my understanding.
The abilities/powers are done very well, and a bunch are represented, explained and shown; all without ever making the movie feel bloated with too much info or secondary characters. Like SPIDER-MAN 3 was. And while there is a little voice-over and some for-the-audience explanatory dialogue sequences, the filmmakers made sure to SHOW us the story as much as possible. Which was nice for a change.
My only real gripe with the movie was that the story lags a little in the second act. But, other than that, the action is fast paced and more importantly, well shot. The story is dark, and the filmmakers take it seriously. Unlike FANTASTIC FOUR. And overall, everything combined, it’s a tight little super-powered people flick. I highly recommend it if, like me, you think most superhero movies are crap, but still hold out hope for a good one. PUSH is just that, at least in my opinion.
[HOW BAD-ASS ARE THE MAIN CHARACTERS?]
Chris Evans is Nick Gant and Dakota Fanning is Cassie Holmes
Nick lives in Hong Kong, so naturally, he’s equipped with duel .44’s, which he uses in telekinetic battles with other “Movers”. He gets beaten, almost to death, a couple times and keeps on jumping back in the proverbial ring, for more. Though somewhat reluctant (at least initially), he’s a good guy and I found it very easy to root for him.
Cassie’s 13, but she’s been told she looks 14 and I foresee finding her attractive at around 17. Call it a “watchers” intuition. She’s clever, resourceful, determined and a smartass. And against my pre-watching assumptions, she never really turned into the damsel in distress and I actually ended up liking her. Especially when she got hammered and started berating the other girl on the team for being the bane of all their problems.
[THE BODY COUNT: 30 FOR CERTAIN , 8 POTENTIALS & A BUNCH OF FISH]
The good guys rack up a rather thrilling (for a PG-13, Superhero movie) 7 kills. But it’s the bad guys that do most of the damage, as they are divided amongst themselves and end up fighting one-another, civil war style. They kill each other off with bullets, mind-bullets (that’s telekinesis, Kyle!) and mind projecting various sharp objects into one-another’s vital organs. The left over 8 are the bodies of the Asian stunt team that were tossed around like rag dolls, but never shown lifeless enough to confirm their deaths.
[MOST SATISFYING ASS-KICKING & DEATH]
I’m going to go with the penultimate villain, Victor Budarin. Little is known about the man, but he’s basically Chow Yun-Fat’s worst nightmare. The guy deflects a thousand or so bullets, all while systematically fucking up an entire Hong Kong stunt team with his telekinesis. His only apparent weakness is other ‘Movers’. Nick and Vic showdown in a warehouse, bludgeoning one another with psychic-power enhanced punches, kicks and head butts. The two men trade blow for blow until one of the Asian gangster guys interrupts with a psychic scream that would rival the Michael Jackson video, and he turns Vic’s brains into soft-serve ice-cream.
[DUDESWEAT AND MACHISMO]
Chris Evans is a hunk, but the only time he takes off his shirt is when a pretty woman is mending his wounds. Then later, he has sex with a younger, even better looking female. What a waste.
[EXPLOITATION AND MISOGYNY]
At one point, one of the bad-guy agents gets into a battle of the sexes with Camilla Belle in a bathroom. She takes some heavy hits, but comes out victorious in the end. But, I knew she would, as after all, she was Seagal’s daughter in THE PATRIOT. He’d be proud.
Then of course there is the Asian girl, who shames her father by no fault of her own, but gets bitch slapped just the same for not being born a male.
[EPIC MOMENT AND BEST ONE-LINER]
I really enjoyed the shootout between Nick and Vic in the restaurant. They use their powers to levitate guns around the room blasting round after round at one another. It’s no Tea House scene from HARD BOILED, but it’s still cooler than I expected.
There’s not much for one-liners, but, despite myself, I did enjoy the following exchange.
Pop Girl [holding a gun to Cassie]: “Stupid child. I already saw you die.”
Cassie: “Then you know it’s not here, and it’s not today.”
It’s kinda sad that the most badass thing said in the film was by a skinny little girl. But I assure you, it’s still a pretty kick-ass film.
[THE MORAL OF THE STORY]
Getting pushed, makes you wanna…
[THE CHECKLIST: 11 outta 25]
[ ] Athlete(s) Turned “Actor”
[ ] Clinging To The Outside Of A Moving Vehicle
[ ] Crotch Attack
[ ] Dialogue Telling Us How Bad-Ass The Main Character(s) Is/Are
[ ] Ending Featuring An Ambulance, A Blanket or A Towel
[ ] Giant Explosion(s)
[ ] Heavy Artillery
[X] Improvised Weapon(s)
[ ] Macho Mode(s) Of Transportation
[X] Main Character Sports Facial Accessory(s)
[ ] Manly Embrace(s)
[ ] Notorious Stunt-Man Sighting
[X] Passage(s) Of Time Via Montage
[X] Politically Fueled Plot Point(s)
[X] Senseless Destruction Of Property
[X] Shoot Out(s) and/or Sword Fight(s)
[ ] Slow-Motion Finishing Move(s)/Death(s)
[X] Stupid Authoritative Figure(s)
[X] Substance Usage and/or Abuse
[ ] Tis The Season
[X] Torture Sequence(s)
[ ] Unnecessary Sequel
[ ] Vehicle Chase(s)
[X] Vigilante Justice