The first three months of the year are traditionally when the big studios dump their crappy movies on the public. Push recalls an earlier tenant of the misfit movie graveyard, Jumper, in that it's about pretty, young people with superpowers. Instead of Hayden Christensen, we get Chris Evans as the vacant main character, and rather than Samuel L. Jackson squandering his talents as the bad guy, here Djimon Hounsou fills the thankless role. And instead of teleportation, the powers include telepathy, telekinesis, and precognition. These powers have been done a million times before in movies, and there's no inventiveness here, although a telekinetic battle in a restaurant in the middle of the film does at least show a little exuberance.
It's really hard to give a damn either way about Push. Evans lacks the smarmy charm of other pretty boys like Seann William Scott, and he doesn't even have the ability to impersonate depth the way Ryan Phillippe sometimes can. Instead, he says his lines in an unremarkable manner, tries to look concerned, and fades into the background. Hounsou is as uninteresting as he's ever been. Only Dakota Fanning, as a young woman who can see the future (her character's name is Cassie: GET IT?), occasionally delivers her lines with some semblance of life.
The plot is a stultifying mess, requiring characters to run this way, and then that way, for no real reason beyond extending the film to a nearly two-hour running time. (It's way too long.) But the film isn't completely irredeemable. The entire thing was filmed on location in Hong Kong, and the beautiful textures and designs in the background of nearly every scene could potentially make this movie a welcome respite from a gray Portland winter day, and the cinematography makes the most of the eccentric architecture of the city, too. At its best moments, Push turns into a travelogue of the most beautiful hotels, markets, and restaurants of Hong Kong—with a bunch of actors running around, waving their hands in ridiculous ways and mucking up the shot.