Push Is Less X-Men and More ‘Why, Man?’


Not to be mistaken for the acclaimed Mo’Nique Sundance drama, director Paul McGuigan’s harebrained sci-fi thriller about young Americans with extraordinary psychic powers banding together in Hong Kong seems to have been made up as it was being filmed. It’s less X-Men and more “Why, man?” Hero #1 Chris Evans is a second-generation “mover” with telekinetic abilities; government baddie and “pusher” Djimon Hounsou plants treacherous ideas in other people’s minds; a smugly precocious Dakota Fanning sketches pictures of the future as a “watcher”; and the rest sound like the drug nicknames that Hunter S. Thompson came up with in his Las Vegas suitcase: “stitches,” “shadows,” “bleeders,” “shifts,” “sniffs,” and “wipers.” All that the super-skills offer are ridiculous screenwriting shortcuts (Evans hands out instruction cards to his posse, then has his mind erased by a crusty Chinese local to thwart telepathic villains and literally change fate) for a puffed-up plot that would make less sense to explain than to watch. The CGI effects are serviceable, if that’s your bag, but the action has no suspense, the setpieces are uninspired (besides all the neon, why are they even in Hong Kong?), and the half-baked, anti-climactic punchline had me expecting an announcement that Season One kicks off on Fox this fall.