Bushwick assails the eyes and ears with near-continual gunfire and quease-making handheld cinematography. Being forced to follow the characters quickly becomes tedious, and not only visually. The majority of the action centres around just two people – Dave Bautista’s gruff ex-military man Stupe and Brittany Snow’s archetypal final(ish) girl – and they are not nearly enough to keep all the violent mayhem interesting.
Perhaps Bushwick could have made for an entertaining short – there is intrigue to be found in the premise, though it’s certainly underdeveloped. At feature length, though, there’s plenty of time for stylistic choices such as the highly repetitive soundtrack to become grating tics.
The film is almost as light on performance quality as it is on plot. Bautista looks the part but mumbles his dialogue, particularly during one excruciatingly lengthy and out-of-character monologue. Snow, however, is the worst offender. While she’s done an impressive job of hanging on to high school and college student roles beyond her twenties (something the Pitch Perfect franchise spins into a very funny gag), she’s much less at home in Bushwick. A duo of stunt doubles ensures action scenes aren’t the problem; it’s the repeated expressions of anguish and grief required by the rising body count that fall flat.
Bushwick’s shortcomings are anchored by an apparent indecision as to the film’s genre and tone, which blends action, comedy, and lugubrious attempts at pathos. There are laughs, though at least half are unintentionally provoked by ridiculous dialogue.
Watching Bushwick is an immersive sensory experience. It’s like being trapped inside a video game you never wanted to play, yet it fails to engage on an emotional level. The rapid action is sometimes incoherent; you can’t always see what’s going on, but often you don’t care anyway.
CAST: Dave Bautista, Christian Navarro, Brittany Snow
DIRECTORS: Cary Murnion, Jonathan Milott
WRITERS: Nick Damici, Graham Reznick
SYNOPSIS: When a Texas military force invades their Brooklyn neighborhood, 20-year-old Lucy and war veteran Stupe must depend on each other to survive.