DVD Review by Kam Williams
Headline: Sci-Fi Mindbender Released on DVD
Nick (Chris Evans) is a so-called Mover born with the ability to manipulate objects with his mind, a trait he inherited from his late father. 13 year-old Cassie (Dakota Fanning), on the other hand, is a Watcher, which means she can see far into the future.
The source of their superhuman powers is a Nazi scientific experiment gone haywire during the Holocaust in which kids were fed milk with radioactive iodine. Consequently, there’s a whole race of mutants roaming the Earth, including Pushers, who are capable of altering others’ minds; Bleeders, who can rupture eardrums by emitting high-pitched sounds; Sniffs, the psychic equivalent of bloodhounds; Stitchers, who can heal the sick instantaneously; Shadows, who can block the clairvoyant visions of Sniffs; Wipers, blessed with the ability to erase memories temporarily or permanently; and Shifters, masters at creating optical illusions.
Freaks with telepathic talents tend to attract the attention of despots with world domination in mind. So, it’s no surprise to learn that a clandestine U.S. spy agency called Division has been rounding up any rogue mutants.
Thus, just past the point of departure of Push, we learn that a team of agents led by Henry Carver (Djimon Hounsou) has tracked the trails of Nick and Cassie to Hong Kong and plans to bring them back to America to put them to work first in service of the government. The plot thickens when the two young expatriates decide they’d rather remain free, and proceed to pin their hopes on finding Nick’s ex-girlfriend, Kira (Camilla Belle), the only person known to have escaped the clutches of Division successfully.
So, the chase is on, and the surprisingly-cerebral sci-fi adventure which ensues unfolds in a fashion that’s not always easy to follow, adding up overall to an alternately thrilling and thought-provoking roller coaster ride which you’ll probably have to watch more than once to comprehend completely. For, although the “fugitives on the run” storyline might sound fairly conventional on its face, appearances can be deceiving when you’re your dealing with an ensemble of supernatural characters able to morph at will.
A harrowing mindbender which successfully blends elements of X-Men, The Matrix and Memento while adding some of its own unique sci-fi flava.
Excellent (3.5 stars)
Rated PG-13 for profanity, teen drinking and intense violence.
In English and Cantonese with subtitles.
Running time: 111 minutes
Studio: Summit Entertainment
DVD Extras: Audio commentary by the director and cast, deleted scenes with director’s commentary and “The Science behind the Fiction” featurette.