Push (4K UHD Review)

  • Reviewed by: Bill Hunt
  • Review Date: Apr 18, 2018
  • Format: Blu-ray Disc
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Push (4K UHD Review)

Director

Paul McGuigan

Release Date(s)

2009 (April 10, 2018)

Studio(s)

Icon Productions/Summit Entertainment (Lionsgate)
  • Film/Program Grade: D+
  • Video Grade: B+
  • Audio Grade: A+
  • Extras Grade: C+

Push (4K Ultra HD Blu-ray)

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Review

Nick (Chris Evans, better known as Captain America these days) is a Mover, hiding out in Hong Kong from the sinister American agents of Division. Years ago, his father, who was also a Mover, died after telling Nick that the future would one day depend on him helping a young girl with a flower in her time of need. That girl is Cassie (Dakota Fanning), a Watcher, who soon comes into his Nick’s life and sets off a chain of events that involves a great number of Movers, Watchers, Pushers, Sniffers, Shadows, Bleeders, Snitches, Wipers, Sneetchers, Whompers, and Creepers fighting each other with mutant powers over a secret serum that will—ah, fuck it. Doesn’t matter. I made some of those up.

Directed by Paul McGuigan, who hasn’t made any particularly great films but I have to give him credit for directing four solid episodes of the BBC’s Sherlock (including perhaps the series’ best installment, A Scandal in Belgravia), Push is what happens when a writer mixes two favorite genres (in this case superhero films and John Woo-style HK actioners) into a single story but has absolutely no idea where to go with it. That’s a shame, because a potentially interesting concept, an eclectic cast (Evans and Fanning are surprisingly good together), and an intriguing setting are all sacrificed in favor woefully overcomplicated plotting and generic comic book fight scenes. This film is just too damn clever for its own good. I’ll give it this though: Peter Sova’s cinematography is straight-up solid.

Push was shot on photochemical film in Super 35 and Super 16 and finished as a 2K Digital Intermediate. That source has been upconverted, given both Dolby Vision and HDR10 color grades, and is presented here on 4K Ultra HD at the 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The resulting image is… interesting. Fine detail is good and certainly improved over regular Blu-ray, but the grain texturing is unusual, going from light to heavy depending on the source (35 or 16) but also appearing processed as a stylistic choice. HDR makes the difference here though, with deep blacks, bold highlights, and colors that are neon-candy garish by design, while offering remarkable nuances of hue and shading. This is certainly how the film is meant to look, but it’s a little too rough looking to keep up with the best the format has to offer.

The audio has been upgraded for 4K to a new English Dolby Atmos mix that is the real highlight of this disc. It thrills with excellent clarity, a big wide soundstage, lots of lively directional movement and overhead activity, and impressive spaciousness. The LFE packs a real wallop when some of these mutants begin to deploy their mental powers. Panning is smooth and there’s rich atmospherics in the surrounds. At least from an audio standpoint, this is a reference quality experience.

Extras on the 4K Ultra HD disc include (the video extras all in HD):

  • Audio commentary with director Paul McGuigan, and actors Chris Evans and Dakota Fanning
  • Deleted Scenes (3:19 – with optional commentary)
  • The Science Behind the Fiction (9:17)
  • Push: Breaking Down the 9 Types of Psychics (2:13)

That last one is actually new for the 4K disc, though none of these features really stands out at all. The others are also included on the regular Blu-ray that’s in this package (with the film in 1080p HD). You also get a Digital Copy code on a paper insert.

Push starts out as likable and interesting, but fails to stay that way long enough to hold your attention as it gradually twists itself into a pretzel. Ultimately, not even Chow Yun-fat could have saved this one. If you’re a fan of the film, though, you’ll be pleased to know that this 4K Ultra HD release from Summit and Lionsgate looks and sounds as good as it gets.

- Bill Hunt

(You can follow Bill on social media at these links: Twitter and Facebook)

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