Movie Review: ‘BUSHWICK’ is a bush league adventure starring Dave Bautista

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Kip Mooney // Film Critic

BUSHWICK

Rated R, 94 minutes
Directors: Cary Murnion and Jonathan Milott
Cast: Dave BautistaBrittany SnowChristian NavarroAngelic ZambranaArturo Castro and Jeremie Harris
Now playing at AMC Hickory Creek.

It’s been more than 30 years since RED DAWN brought us a vision of a terrifying force invading a normal U.S. neighborhood. The team behind BUSHWICK knows you’ve seen that, and CLOVERFIELD, and CHILDREN OF MEN, and played a lot of video games, too. So while the film is riveting for most of its run time, it can’t help but feel like a pale imitation of all that.

Brittany Snow (PITCH PERFECT) stars as Lucy, who stops by the titular Brooklyn enclave to visit her grandmother. When she and her boyfriend walk up from the subway, an explosion rocks them as they’re greeted by an invading force clad in all black.

In the chaos, she runs into Stupe (Dave Bautista, proving he’s best when covered in silver body paint and cracking jokes to the rest of the Guardians of the Galaxy), who saves her from would-be muggers and rapists. They spend of the rest of the movie dodging bullets, meeting other resistance fighters and trying to get to safety.

David Bautista stumbles into war in ‘BUSHWICK.’ Courtesy of RLJ Entertainment.

Much of the film is shot in bracing long takes, which is impressive during shootouts, but becomes unnecessary during any dialogue scenes. What’s jaw-dropping at first feels like showing off. It’s revealed later in the film that the invaders are not Russians, ISIS or North Koreans, but white supremacists trying to secede from the U.S.

While white supremacists are a definite threat to this country, BUSHWICK takes itself way too seriously. The directors’ last film, COOTIES, was a total blast, even with a similarly tiny budget. This movie is as grim as the original RED DAWN, but without the talented cast.

Look, I don’t want to knock a movie that definitely does the best it can with the resources it has, but it’s not hard to imagine a superior version of this movie with say, Bruce Willis and Jennifer Lawrence.

But BUSHWICK provides relentless thrills on a scale beyond its small budget. That’s impressive, even if the finished product isn’t.

Grade: C+

About author

Preston Barta

Hello, there! My name is Preston Barta, and I am the features editor of Fresh Fiction and senior film critic at the Denton Record-Chronicle. My cinematic love story began where I was born: off planet on the isolated desert world of the Jakku system. It's there I passed the time scavenging for loose parts with my good friend Rey. One day I found an old film projector and a dusty reel of the 1975 film JAWS. It rocked my world so much that I left my kinfolk in the rearview (I so miss their morning cups of green milk) to pursue my dreams of writing about film. It wasn't long until I met two gents who said they would give me a lift. I can't recall their names, but one was an older man who liked to point a lot and the other was a tall, hairy fella. They got me as far as one of Jupiter's moons where we crossed paths with the U.S.S. Enterprise. Some pointy-eared bastard said I was clear to come aboard. He saw that I was clutching my beloved shark movie and invited me to the "moving pictures room" where he was screening the 1993 film JURASSIC PARK to his crew. He said my life would be much more prosperous if I were familiar with more work by the god named Steven Spielberg. From there, my love for cinema blossomed. Once we reached planet Earth, everything changed. I found the small town of Denton, TX, and was welcomed into the Barta family. They showed me the writings of local film critic Boo Allen. He became my hero and caused me to chase a degree in film and journalism. After my studies at graduate of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, I met some film critics who showed me the ropes and got me into my first press screening: 2011's THE GREEN LANTERN. Don't worry; I recovered just fine. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD was only four years away.