A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this sci-fi thriller about a group of psychic "supeheroes" stars Dakota Fanning and features lots of special-effects violence. Guns and other weapons are used, people are attacked with blasts of telekinetic force, bloody wounds are shown, and overall, the atmosphere is quite grim. Characters also smoke and drink; alcohol helps Fanning's 13-year-old character "focus her visions." Expect some swearing (including "f--k") and implied sex as well.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In Hong Kong, Nick (Chris Evans) lives a life of shabby exile. He's one of a number of people who are skilled psychics or have other special abilities; governments use these "genetic abnormalities" as tactical weapons, but Nick wants no part of that world. But he winds up with little choice in the matter when 13-year-old clairvoyant Cassie (Dakota Fanning) knocks on his door. She wants to enlist him in a scheme to steal $6 million -- and save her mother, who's being held by the conspiratorial agency known as "Division" ... which just happens to want to make people like Nick and Cassie into living weapons.
Is it any good?
Stylishly shot, PUSH is a high-tech thriller that tries to combine the run-and-gun realism of the Bourne films with the high-flying fantasy of comic-book cinema. The simplicity and restraint in the film's central idea is interesting: The "special talents" can do incredible things -- see the future, move objects with their mind, control others'' thoughts, act as psychic bloodhounds -- but they can only do one incredible thing. But director Paul McGuigan's execution is too clever by half, losing our interest (and the thread of the plot) in a tangle of convolutions and tricks, when all we want is a smart story cleanly told.
Still, it's hard to have a bad time watching Evans and Fanning, and the film looks incredible -- the neon wasteland of Hong Kong at night gleams and throbs like an electric bruise. With a cleaner script and some judicious editing, Push could have been a nice addition to the recent explorations of the street-level side of comic-book action. Unfortunately, the film as it stands feels like a bungled attempt to kick off a franchise that will never happen.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether teen drinking seems less serious in a sci-fi setting. How does the movie portray Cassie's use of alcohol? Does it seem realistic? What would the consequences be in real life?
- In theaters: February 6, 2009
- On DVD or streaming: July 7, 2009
- Cast: Chris Evans, Dakota Fanning, Djimon Hounsou
- Director: Paul McGuigan
- Studio: Summit Entertainment
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Run time: 121 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: intense sequences of violence and action, brief strong language, smoking and a scene of teen drinking
- Last updated: March 14, 2020
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