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

I have been working as a film journalist since 2010, dividing the first four years between radio broadcasting and entertainment writing in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. In 2014, I entered Fresh Fiction (FreshFiction.tv) as the features editor. The following year, I stepped into the film critic position at the Denton Record-Chronicle, a daily North Texas print publication. My time is dedicated to writing theatrical film reviews, at-home entertainment columns, and conducting interviews with on-screen talent and filmmakers, as well as hosting a podcast devoted to genre filmmaking (called My Bloody Podcast). I've been married for seven happy years, and I have one son who is all about dinosaurs just like his dad.