Push is a movie about Nick (Chris Evans
), a man who lives in perpetual fear of the US version of Division, a worldwide agency of major governments whose goal is to train psychic soldiers. To aid this, Division injects psychics with a drug
to boost their abilities. Only one person, Kira (Camilla Belle), has been able to survive this drug, and she quickly escapes after taking the drug. Nick meets Cassie (Dakota Fanning
), a snarky
13-year old who can see the future. Together, they track down Kira and a stolen syringe which contains the serum with the hope that finding it will help them bring down Division.
The movie was poorly received at the box office and by critics, getting a paltry 23% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It made a little over $31 million, not counting overseas and DVD sales, so a sequel is unlikely given that it had an estimated budget of $38 million. There was a television series
in development being written by David Hayter
, but the lack of recent news means it has likely fallen into Development Hell
For the 1996 novel of the same name that was made into the 2009 movie Precious
, click here.
This movie provides examples of:
- Anti-Hero: The morally bankrupt type. Our introduction to Nick is him trying to cheat at dice. And failing.
- Artistic License – Biology: The movie has the lead character inject soy sauce directly in to his blood stream with no side effect at all.
- Badass: The fact is, Victor was simply destroying everything, and if Division already has him on their team, it does not look like they even need the drug. Of course, if they made him even more super...well, then it just stops being fair. Nick also has his moments, though, and was giving Victor a run for his money near the end.
- Bald of Evil: Carver, one of the Sniffs (Mac)
- Blond Guys Are Evil: Victor
- The Chessmaster: Both Cassie and the Pop Girl are constantly trying to prove that they're the best chessmaster in the film. Little do they know that they're really just fighting for second place. The real chessmaster is Cassie's mom. See Gambit Roulette below.
- Nick becomes one mid-movie, as he was the one who came up with the idea of using notes and mind-wipes. He also wrote all the notes, not showing them to anyone until the right time.
- Click Hello: Pop Girl clicks off the safety right behind Cassie near the end.
- Competence Zone: Averted. The parents are all far more powerful and skilled at using their powers than the younger psychics.
- Covers Always Lie: You see the poster on this page, where Nick telekinetically sweeps through a whole street, throwing cars and such? Yeah, that never happens. Not even close.
- Promotional images also seem to imply that a "push" involves telekinesis, when it actually revolves around implanting thoughts, movers being the ones capable of moving objects with their mind.
- Deadly Upgrade: The serum has killed every test subject, save Kira.
- Deadpan Snarker: Cassie is chock full of these, and Nick has his occasional moments.
Cassie: (having just drawn a picture of her, Nick, and her mother, all dead) You better do something quick, 'cause I'm getting sick of drawing dead bodies.
- Death by Irony
- Differently Powered Individual: See the Psychic Powers entry, below
- The Dragon: Victor to Carver, Pop Girl to her father.
- Evil Brit: The mercenary Stitch
- Evil Counterpart: Victor to Nick, Pop Girl to Cassie, and Carver to Kira.
- Fainting Seer: Cassie and her evil watcher counterpart have occasional flutters.
- Face-Heel Turn: Kira is pushed into this towards the end of the film. Subverted. A photo of her and Nick allows her to remember who she really is and kills Carver.
- Fake Memories: Pushers create them.
- Force And Finesse: Nick and Victor, respectively. While Nick is capable of extremely strong bursts of power, Victor has significantly more fine control and depth of using his powers, and completely outmatches Nick until he makes the incredibly poor decision to try and trade power-enhanced blows with him. Needless to say, in a close in fight of simply trading power blows, the brute force user (Nick) comes out on top.
- Gambit Roulette:
- The entire movie was one gigantic one by Cassie's mother to get the serum into the hands of her daughter. Cassie jokes that her mom must've been planning this since before Cassie was born. Knowing that, she's probably right.
- Nick's letters are a sub-gambit of this one, and they're all improvised without any Watcher foresight, especially the one of he and Kira at Coney Island at the end. This is justified by them having dated for quite some time, and by having someone who can see the future on their side.
- Golden Thigh Ratio: Cassie's jailbait skirt is part of her look as a Little Miss Badass.
- Gorn: Nick spends half of his screen time on his back writhing in pain.
- Guns Akimbo: A favorite technique of the good guys, not that they ever get to use them.
- Healing Hands: It's here, but it's VERY painful, and can work in reverse.
- Hime Cut: Pop Girl.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Carver is killed in exactly the same way that he killed a character earlier in the movie.
- Maybe the Division should have only used people whose abilities could actually be restrained for those lab experiments. A super-powerful Shifter or Watcher doesn't sound all that dangerous or difficult to imprison compared to someone with the power of Mind Control. The most powerful Watcher in the story spends the entire story off-screen in their possession (possibly due to her own plan, but still imprisoned).
- Hostage for MacGuffin
- Improvised Weapon: A wet floor sign by Kira, chairs and bamboo shoots by Victor.
- Inspired By: A mild case, as it turns out there actually was a government project for investigating psychics.
- Instant Expert: Nick has been a Mover all his life, and he sucks at it at the beginning, barely able to roll some dice. Once it becomes plot important, he suddenly get great at it. It is implied, though, that he had a lot of raw talent, and he just needed more practice or motivation. He's usually surprised when he does something fairly powerful, and he almost always does so after seeing someone else do them (such as Victor and his bullet shields and telekinetic-enhanced punches). He's also consistently a lot better at the big, uncontrolled stuff (i.e., brute force) than he is at the little, fiddly (read: precision) things.
- Karmic Death: Nick stays his hand and doesn't kill Victor, who is killed anyway three seconds later by a Bleeder.
- Averted when Kira kills Carver in a fairly sadistic way.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: Wipers can remove specific memories, which doubles as a way to throw off Watchers.
- Lens Flare: Apparently the byproduct of two telekinetics punching each other.
- MacGuffin Girl: Kira isn't the MacGuffin exactly, but she stole it, has it in her bloodstream, and is chased after by the villains as the only successful survivor of the super-psychic-serum.
- Magic Skirt: Cassie. Necessary, because the character's all of 13.
- Manipulative Bastard: All Pushers. Especially Carver.
- Man of Wealth and Taste: Carver.
- Master of Illusion: Hook, one of Nick's friends.
- Meaningful Echo: Carver's "What a waste" line, said after he killed Nick's father and after he thinks Nick killed himself.
- Meaningful Name: Cassie is probably named after Cassandra, a prophetess from Greek mythology.
- Mêlée à Trois: Nick, Cassie and friends vs the Chinese Triad vs Division
- Memory Gambit- Tack on some Omniscient Morality License and you essentially have a non-traceable future, since Watchers work off of everyone's hypothetical plans.
- Men Are the Expendable Gender: Despite the relatively high total bodycount, female character deaths number exactly zero. The two female villains 3 if you count Kira are menacingly threatening but they're stopped right before they cross the Moral Event Horizon so the audience won't be upset:
- Stowe, the Stitcher tries to kill/interrogate Nick, only for Nick to pull a gun on her and tie her up in his apartment. In a deleted scene, Pop Girl kills her for her failure.
- Pop Girl finally tracks down Cassie and pulls a gun on her but the Wiper sneaks up behind her and erases her mind.
- Pushed!Kira spends the final battle running, fleeing and using her power to push mooks into dropping their guns or coming to her defense, never directly killing anyone unless Carver tells her to, and when she is freed from Carver's push, she kills him after reading Nick's note telling her to.
- Mind Rape: Remember that brother you don't have? Well, now you remember every moment of growing up together, and that your best friend/fellow Sniff brutally killed him. And even after you realize it's a push and that you killed the Sniff in revenge for nothing, the memories will still be there clear as day.
- More Than Mind Control: Being Pushed is this, which explains how Nick fought off Carver's push to walk off the edge of the building.
- Mutant Draft Board: Division hunts down psychics to perform Super Soldier experiments on, or to draft into voluntary service. Any psychic they don't directly control, or who refuses to be recruited, Division agents either kill them outright or threaten them to not use their powers, and they employ Sniffs to track down any who disobey this edict. Many psychics live abroad in Hong Kong to keep as far away from the Sniffs as possible.
- Nightmare Fuel Coloring Book: Cassie's drawings of the future.
- Note to Self
- Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Neither Djimon Hounsou (from Benin) nor Cliff Curtis (from New Zealand) even bothers to try to sound like Americans. Neil Jackson (England) drops in and out of it with the 2 or 3 lines he has. While Carver specifically says he's working for the U.S. Division near the end, their home countries are never specified so they could have been recruited before or after they became U.S. citizens or have picked up the accents elsewhere.
- One Person, One Power: strictly observed.
- Prophecy Twist: Cassie's drawing of a tiger clawing her to death: Pop Girl getting her memory eviscerated by the wiper with clawed hands in a room filled with cardboard boxes with the logo of a tiger.
- Psychic-Assisted Suicide: Pushers can make you eat your gun.
- Carver to one of his men who had just failed him (he pushes him to think the gun's empty though).
- During the final battle, Carver pushes two mooks to shoot each-other while Kira commands two under her control to walk off the edge of a building.
- Kira to Carver at the end of the film. Yay karma!
- Psychic Powers: The basis of all powers in Push:
- Pushers are able to use Mind Control. Really, it's More Than Mind Control, since it works by implanting and/or overwriting memories.
- Wipers are able to erase all or parts of a person's memory.
- Movers are telekinetics.
- Shifters are Masters Of Illusion, allowing them to morph any object of their choice, though it seems the object does have to be of the same relative size of the object it's being shifted to, and it's temporary.
- Bleeders Make Me Wanna Shout.
- Stitchers have Healing Hands, albeit very painful, and capable of working in reverse.
- Sniffers can see where any object has every been and who's used it. They get their name from how their ability works: literally by sniffing the object in a form of psychometry.
- Watchers predict the future - or at least, the future that one intends to take. They can be countered by not knowing what you're going to do until right before you do it, and having your memories erased can stop them dead in their tracks.
- Shadows can hide people by "shadowing" an object from them, allowing their subject to not be found. They are generally used to cancel out Sniffers. Extremely powerful ones can cancel out Watchers, though there's only one known occurrence of this.
- From the comic series:
- Reed Richards Is Useless / Comes Great Responsibility: Inverted; in China, where Division has less of a hold, many psychics hold down occupations using their powers for profit (except the Shifter, who just carries a wallet full of money-shaped blank paper).
- Scarily Competent Tracker: The Sniffs. They used a 10-year old toothbrush with a weak scent to track Nick across several countries before finding him in Hong Kong.
- Scary Black Man: Carver. He's played by Djimon Honsou, what do you expect?
- Screw Gun Safety: Some would say that if you're a telekinetic who's not very good at it, you would take extra care to make sure that the pistols you are levitating are not pointed at you when you work the slide.
- Carver pushes a Sniffer into shooting himself because he convinces him that the gun isn't loaded. What's the first rule of gun safety? "The gun is always loaded. Even when it isn't."
- Screw Destiny: Cassie is trying to prevent the future she sees. The villains love You Can't Fight Fate since their watchers foresee a future in which the heroes all die.
- Scry vs. Scry: Cassie versus Pop Girl.
- Sequel Hook: Nick and Cassie defeated the Pop Gang and the Division agents, and they have the drug. Division(America) wants to keep the drug, and its very existence, away from rival Mutant Draft Board organizations of other countries. Cassie's plan is to trade the drug for Cassie's mom and take down Division. How they are going to do that isn't really known yet.
- Shoot the Dog: The Chinese Triad leader killing Victor before Nick has to.
- Mind control being described as "pushing" someone was first used in Stephen King's Firestarter, although as the power works here it's more evocative of a drug dealer "pushing".
- To The X-Files episode, "Pusher".
- Sliding Scale of Free Will vs. Fate: of the "Prophecies as predictions based on people's intentions" variety.
- Slo Mo: A dramatic walk down a hallway. Verges on Narm.
- Strong as They Need to Be: Nick kept a lid on his powers to evade detection by Division so he starts off a relatively unskilled Mover. Once he shook off the cobwebs, he began to develop more finesse; his encounters with the much-stronger and infinitely more Badass Victor seem to boost his competency via Awesomeness by Analysis to the point that in their final battle, he's enough of a match to overpower Victor to nearly beat him to death.
- Stylistic Suck: Cassie's drawings.
- Super Human Trafficking
- Super Serum: The MacGuffin of the plot; Division is testing it on psychics to enhance their powers. It's failed so far in every case, save one.
- Super Soldier: Division's ultimate goal from their inception during WW II is to weaponize psychics into an unparalleled army.
- Xanatos Speed Chess: Once Nick and Cassie realize how they can shut down Pop Girl, things change very quickly, especially when the letters come into play.
- You Have Failed Me: Carver "pushes" one of his Sniffs to shoot himself for letting Kira escape and falling for Kira's push that caused him to kill his partner. Carver was willing to send the agent home until the agent insisted he was willing to bet his life that there was no way he can be "pushed" again. He may have also been genuinely worried that the guy had other implanted thoughts he didn't know about.