Push Blu Ray Review

Sunday, August 02, 2009

This year has seen several science fiction blockbusters fail to deliver at the box office. Many of these failures instead enjoy success in the home market, could Push find a more welcoming audience on Blu Ray?

Excluding the lack of a major star to capture publicity interest, Push was not helped by a convoluted plot and narrative. The opening period of the film sets up previous events and then jumps forward to modern day Hong Kong. Normally opening credits are merely eye candy for what follows, yet in Push it’s a tool for a brief synopsis of the types of abilities you are about to see in action. Such is the wealth of information that director Paul McGuigan is trying to convey initially that’s its understandable how cinemagoers struggled.

Push is a conspiracy adventure that focuses on psychic abilities of humans. A branch of the American government known as the Division is carrying on research that was commenced by the Nazi regime. Their aim is to utilise these abilities to great a unique weapon, and the Division will not stop at anything to succeed. There are various types of special abilities and these seem genetic to particular families and handed down the generations. These skills require training and nurturing and our two main heroes are very much in the rookie category. Both are laying low from the Division and avoiding local crime gangs in Hong Kong.

Soon they both embark on an action packed adventure to hunt down a special Divisional drug that has gone missing. The Chinese crime syndicate want the drug for their own uses and Division has called upon some of its best people to retrieve the lost property.

Push is an easy target for criticism, yet reflecting on what it tries to achieve and its attempt to foster a sequel it is surprisingly fun. Part of the attraction is the Hong Kong setting that is colourful and vibrant; a real change from drab Australia or the States. Returning to the film you can piece together that opening with far more understanding and the whole experience is held together by a wonderful performance from young Dakota Fanning, in what could be a role similar to Natalie Portman in Leon. Our main criticism would be that the Division just lacks real menace or presence. Two agents and a few hired hands just doesn’t stack up as a powerful government agency.

While the script and quality of the film may vary depending on whom you ask, the picture quality on this Blu Ray is exceptional. Hong Kong comes to life thanks to several memorable locations, showing a huge range of colour and clarity. The only grain on this print comes with deliberate camera choices in scenes such as outside the fish market. Otherwise this is one of the best looking Blu Ray releases of 2009.

The soundtrack is dynamic and several action sequences will provide huge enjoyment, especially those featuring the Triads, who can call upon Bleeders for their own sonic attacks. Overall this is an extremely loud track that will ‘push’ your home cinema system to the max!

The extras are under whelming and overall quite disappointing for those wanting to explore the Push universe or background in greater detail, despite being in high definition. This may be a reflection of its limited budget, but it’s a sad selection on offer here. The menu system is pretty straightforward although our disc didn’t show the audio commentary from the director, Dakota and Chris Evans as an option, which is surprising. However the track is certainly present and even the director admits they’ll need most of its running time to explain the film itself. The commentary like Push is fun, with all three participants offering their views and memories of events. By far it’s the best extra on offer and well worth a listen if you enjoyed the film.

There are a handful of deleted scenes with optional commentary that last for just a few minutes. Two fill in gaps from the film, providing answers to a few characters that simply just drop out of view as proceedings reach a climax. The other extra is a short documentary (just nine minutes) called ‘The Science Beyond The Fiction’ that offers a short explanation of how psychic powers have been investigated and utilised by governments over the years. A long more involving documentary would have been appreciated along with some ‘making of’ features.

Overall Push is a fun ride but one that is a little too complicated for its own good. For Blu Ray owners this is an ideal rental and potential demo disk for your sound system.

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