Review: Bushwick

Blu-ray & DVD: Bushwick (2017)

Lucy (Brittany Snow) arrives in the Brooklyn neighbourhood of Bushwick with the intention of visiting her family. However, when she emerges from the subway, she sees that the neighbourhood is under attack by an unknown military force. Taking refuge in the basement of a nearby building, she is physically threatened by 2 males who want more than just her money. Saved at the last minute by the owner of the house; Stupe (Dave Bautista)…an ex-military medic who now works as a janitor, they form an uneasy alliance as they try to escape from the ongoing carnage and try to figure out what the hell is going on.

Low budget action movies have been a staple of my movie watching history for as long as I can remember. A particular subgenre starring either current or retired American sports stars (wrestlers, NFL/NBA players, etc) has both entertained and infuriated me over the years.

Jim Brown and Fred Williamson are 2 ex-NFL badass mofo’s who I always love to watch in an action movie, whereas Howie Long in Firestorm, Lyle Alzado in Destroyer, and Brian Bosworth in Stone Cold, all had me spitting out my cups of tea in laughter on numerous occasions.

Wrestlers have fared similarly, with the past movie exploits of Hulk Hogan being far overshadowed by the box office juggernaut of Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. The latest wrestler making waves in the movie industry is Dave Bautista, who’s appearances in big budget movies such as Spectre, Guardians of the Galaxy 1 & 2, and Blade Runner 2049, have been balanced by acting in the lower budget end of the business.

So, did Bushwick leave me ‘Stone Cold’?

The premise of Bushwick is nothing revolutionary; a group of people trying to escape a hostile environment with the odds stacked against them. What IS different is the way in which Bushwick is filmed. With only a handful of visible cuts, it gives the illusion of constantly following Lucy and Stupe in realtime as they make for their escape. This is enhanced by some wonderfully inventive camerawork by directors Cary Murnion and Jonathan Milott as the viewer is swept up and around the characters akin to a cinematic cutscene in a 3rd person video game.

There have been many movies either shot in 1 long take, or giving the illusion of one (Russian Ark being a prime example…just watch the ‘making of’ and be prepared to be amazed at the work that went into choreographing it all), but it is Bushwick that engaged me far more than any of the others that I have seen. It wasn’t intrusive or overly stylised. In fact I was about 10 minutes into the movie before it registered that I hadn’t noticed a visible edit so far. This is because I was instantly drawn into the unfolding narrative and had empathy for the characters…something that is getting more important to me as I get older.

Dave Bautista’s performance is languid and understated, perfectly fitting the mindset of Stupe who is suddenly thrust back into a war zone, where his memories of seeing more people die than survive as he tried to help them come back to haunt him. A jaded war veteran, he dispatches attackers with muscle memory reflexes, taking them down not in a ‘movie fight’ way, but more in a clinical real life combat trained fashion. He’s no unstoppable force though, and each encounter takes its toll on his every more tiring body. A soliloquy in a laundromat, with Lucy and himself sat close to sheer exhaustion, solidifies him as a man being pushed to his extremes.

Brittany Snow is equally transfixing on screen, and the relationship between Lucy and Stupe is what drew me deep into the narrative and held my attention throughout…as well as holding my breath at some of the situations they find themselves in. Brittany imbues Lucy with a sense of fear and panic that is constantly wanting to boil over her shot to pieces nerves as she is led from one life threatening moment to the next. Moments where she can no longer keep her nerve are fantastically realised; 2 which spring immediately to mind are when she spoils her wedding day, and when an escape is so close…watch the movie to get those references.

I absolutely loved watching Bushwick, and it is a movie that I’ll surely return to on numerous occasions. Yes, there are times when the CGI exposes its lower budget, but at no point did it ever distract me.

An unexpected treat and definitely recommended.

Bushwick will be released on October 23rd 2017 and you can buy it by clicking HERE. ALL money raised by purchasing from Amazon via our website is given back to our listeners and followers in upcoming competition prizes. The more people buy, the bigger our prizes!

Review by Dave (host of 60 Minutes With) from a disc kindly supplied by Fetch Publicity.