Push

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Fans of TV’s “Heroes” have been frustrated by the show’s declining quality ever since about the end of the first season. But take heart, friends! It could be worse. It could be “Push.”

“Push” has ordinary people with super powers being pursued by agents from a top-secret organization called Division. Some of these empowered individuals doodle the future on sketch pads. Some can move objects with their minds. Some have multiple powers. Some of their eyes turn inky black when their powers activate. “Heroes” didn’t invent any of this stuff, either, but it’s hard not to be reminded of the show when so many elements of “Push” feel so familiar.

None of which is a problem, really, except that “Push” doesn’t do anything useful with its derivative ideas. Directed very stylishly by Paul McGuigan (“Lucky Number Slevin,” “Gangster No. 1”), with assistance from the terrific cinematographer Peter Sova, “Push” boasts beautiful shot compositions, makes great use of color, and has a bevy of other things to recommend it, visually speaking. It just doesn’t have any atmosphere. And not for nothin’, but shouldn’t a movie about people with extraordinary powers NOT BE BORING??!

Basically, you got your people with magic powers, and Division wants to use them as lab rats to try to turn them into soldiers. So if you have these powers, you’re always on the run. Our hero, using the term loosely, is Nick (Chris Evans), a telegenic telekinetic holed up in Hong Kong, where Division’s tentacles have trouble reaching. He’s found by Cassie (Dakota Fanning), a street-wise 13-year-old who sees constant visions of an ever-changing future. Her mother, also a seer, is in Division’s possession, and Cassie has had visions of a suitcase whose contents, she believes, will help them get her out. This suitcase is in Hong Kong.

Also in Hong Kong, as of recently: Kira (Camilla Belle), a recent escapee of Division’s laboratory. Division wants her back because they injected her with some kind of super-serum and she’s the first person ever to not die from it. She teams up with Nick and Cassie to find the suitcase. Save the cheerleader, save the world. You know the drill.

David Bourla’s original screenplay (nope, it’s not based on a comic book) is burdened by too much dialogue, most of it purely functional. There’s no panache, no wit, just words. If someone wrote a high school textbook about super powers, it would sound like this. The scenes focused on lukewarm dialogue outnumber the action scenes ten to one, giving the film a listless, low-energy vibe — precisely the opposite of what you’d want a movie like this to feel like.

C (1 hr., 51 min. ; PG-13, moderate action violence, one F-word.)

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