Ever since Superman donned his red cape and Spider-man spun his first web, fictional characters with special powers have been a staple of films. But in the past, these crusaders, and others like them, employed those unique talents to save the world from imminent disaster.
In more recent times, these same superheroes have become conflicted beings, brooding over their roles or exposing the dark sides of their souls. Still other unique individuals like The Incredible Hulk have become pawns in the hands of secret government agencies whose goal is to manipulate their endowments for the agency’s gain.
In Push, an undercover organization known only as Division also plans to create a super soldier by hunting down people born with enhanced telekinetic, olfactory, visionary or shape shifting skills. Choosing the most gifted among them, they inject a potent radioactive serum into their bloodstreams, hoping to further augment their abilities. Unfortunately, only one of their subjects has survived the jab. And that one escapes.
On the run in the densely packed streets of Hong Kong, Kira Hudson (Camilla Belle) is sick and afraid. Yet she’s not necessarily happy to see her old boyfriend and a tag-a-long, teenaged clairvoyant who are also fugitives from Division. However, Nick (Chris Evans) and Cassie (Dakota Fanning) are thrilled to find Kira. According to one of Cassie’s visions, Kira has a secret case that will bring down Division and free Cassie’s imprisoned mother.
Unfortunately, Kira has had her mind wiped free of memories in order to save herself and the case from being tracked by mind readers. Relying on the help of other extraordinary expatriates, the trio searches for the hidden container. But with the director of Division (Djimon Hounsou) close on their heels, the race for the case turns bloody in a hurry.
Carnage and corpses litter this movie as pushers, those with the ability to force their thoughts into the minds of others, manipulate people into pulling the trigger on themselves or their friends. Bloody wounds are also prevalent as characters are kicked, punched, knocked from rooftops, impaled or otherwise killed. A father and his sons emit high-frequency screams that cause glass to break, ears to bleed and eventually the brain to explode. (It is gruesome, but so utterly ridiculous that most of the audience laughed during these scenes.)
In addition to the gory content, Cassie, dressed like an underage hooker, consumes a bottle of alcohol to enhance her ability to see the future (but instead ends up in a drunken stupor). A strong sexual expletive and numerous uses of scatological slang also pepper this script.
Billed as an action-packed, sci-fi thriller, Push contains plenty of physical skirmishes. However after endlessly watching these battling superheroes pit their powers against one another, while average people become disposable tokens in the psychic warfare, the entertainment value wanes quickly. Given their extraordinary talents, it’s too bad these superheroes are so absorbed in their own quest for power that they forget to use their abilities for the good of others.