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Review: Bushwick (Sundance) starring Dave Bautista

Bushwick (Sundance) starring Dave Bautista
01.26.2017
5 10

PLOT: When a paramilitary force invades Brooklyn, a young woman (Brittany Snow) and a mysterious combat vet (Dave Bautista) must cross five hazardous blocks in Bushwick in order to reach a military extraction point.

REVIEW: Imagine INVASION U.S.A if its politics were to the left and everyone took things a whole lot more seriously. The result would be something close to BUSHWICK, a mostly politically correct action romp, albeit one that gets bogged down in its own seriousness so much you can’t really appreciate the technical sophistication on display. It seemingly aspires to be more than a simple action film, but given the predictability of the premise and the thinly written characters, a Cannon Films-esque approach might have made for a more entertaining film.

brittany snow dave bautista bushwick

Brittany Snow stars as a young woman visiting her grandma on a break from grad school. When a violent firefight makes short work of her boyfriend, she’s rescued by a low-key janitor (Dave Bautista) who’s uniquely qualified for the situation they find themselves in, being a army medic with a killer instinct.

Bautista’s clearly trying to be taken seriously here, playing his part as morose and gritty, fitting for the situation, although you can’t help but yearn for the alpha-action God heroics of an eighties icon. Co-directors Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion, who previously attended Sundance with the horror-comedy COOTIES, do a good job with the action design. Sure enough, the invasion, which is suggested to be the first battle in a second American Civil War, is insane given how slim the resources they probably had were. Some of the touches, such as gang-bangers mixing it up with the invading army, and Molotov cocktail-throwing Hasidim, are fun. Too bad whenever we get close to going in an ultra-violent exploitation direction, they break for a long dramatic pause, as if to remind us, “no, this is a SERIOUS movie.”

brittany snow dave bautista bushwick

In someways, BUSHWICK plays out like CLOVERFIELD if instead of a monster it was an invading army. They use tons of long takes and hand-hand camera work, all of which is effective, but they’re lacking any really strong action set-pieces where Bautista should be allowed to do his thing. Only his violent interrogation of a soldier delivers on what BUSHWICK promises in the first act, and the ending is so predictable you’ll be a step ahead of the filmmakers when it comes to knowing what’s going to happen to the leads. Given that the movie takes place in real time, Snow’s evolution into a hardened bad-ass is tough to swallow, and an aside with her stoner sister, which seems like it was included to give the movie comic relief, hits all the wrong notes.

Even still, while BUSHWICK is a mess, there are good things about it - such as the premise, the camerawork and staging, as well as the memorable score by Aesop Rock. I wish I liked it more than I do, as its always exciting to discover new action directors, and even though the movie isn’t great, Milott and Murnion likely have a couple of solid action films in them if they’re allowed to make them.

Source: JoBlo.com

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