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July 7, 2009

DVD of the Week – Review of Push (2009)

by HELEN GEIB

The sci-fi thriller Push is a mix of good parts and clunky parts. The good parts include Paul McGuigan’s high-energy direction, top-notch special effects, and some of the acting, especially Chris Evans’ charismatic lead performance and vivid character turns in too-small roles by Cliff Curtis, Ming-Na, and Neil Jackson. The clunky parts are the title, some weak story construction, and flat performances- unfortunately in major roles- by Camilla Belle as the hero’s romantic interest and Djimon Hounsou as the villain.

I really enjoyed Push in spite of its evident weaknesses. Partly that’s because there’s more that’s good than bad, but partly it’s just because the film has two things going for it that I really like in a movie: a large cast of characters with flashy special powers and exotic local color.

All the major and most of the minor characters possess some kind of psychic power, and what’s even better, collectively they possess lots of different powers. The stronger plot points revolve around the good guys’ psychical strengths and limitations and there are great set-piece psychic power fights between the story’s several rival factions. The local color comes in through the on-location filming in Hong Kong, with the action unfolding against colorful streetscapes, markets, stores, and landscapes.

The major DVD extra is a director and cast commentary. The DVD also has deleted scenes and a behind the scenes short feature. The movie is also available on Blu-ray.

Other new releases this week: Knowing, The Unborn


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