'Bushwick': Film Review | Sundance 2017

Good gore.

Texas takes on Brooklyn in this cheeky B-movie actioner that played in Sundance's Midnight section.

A certain winner on the college dorm-room circuit, Bushwick, which played in the Midnight section at the Sundance Film Festival, erupts with enough carnage and noise to stock a whole shelf of violent video games. A tongue-in-cheek mayhem movie, it's sort of reminiscent of Escape From New York and Panic in the Streets.

In the daffy shoot-em-up, invaders from a Texas secessionist group and other red-state renegades descend upon good ol' Brooklyn. They commence to killing everyone in their path but have a tough time with our two heroes, respectively, a hulk and a damsel. The damsel is a fair-haired college girl returning home for break (Brittany Snow), while the hulk (Dave Bautista) is a former military man with post-traumatic martial and marital woes.

What distinguishes Bushwick from your standard-issue, boneheaded video game is its cheeky cerebral wit: Screenwriters Nick Damici and Graham Reznick charge it with bizarre oddities and an array of peculiar characters, while directors Cary Murnion and Jonathan Milott let the plot fly as fast as the bullets.

Usually one would have to go to an indoor shooting range without earplugs to enjoy the level of gunfire in this sensory assault as the smartly attired invaders lay waste to the neighborhoods. On a visual level there is much to appreciate: Fashionistas will appreciate the slick black paramilitary look of the invaders, while gore-mongers will savor the devastation, especially those not from Brooklyn.

As the big brute, Bautista is endearing in an against-type performance, while Snow wins our sympathies as the ditzy college student. As a bonus, supporting actress Angelic Zambrana's loopy portrayal of a feisty Brooklynite is dead-on hilarious.

Production companies: Bullet Pictures, Mensch Prods., Ralfish Films, XYZ Films
Cast: Dave Bautista, Brittany Snow, Arturo Castro, Christian Navarro, Angelic Zambrana, Jeff Lima, Patrick M. Walsh, Justin L. Wilson
Directors: Cary Murnion, Jonathan Milott
Screenwriters: Nick Damici, Graham Reznick
Producers: Nate Bolotin, Adam Folk, Joseph Mensch
Executive producers: Dave Bautista, Jonathan Meisner
Cinematographer: Lyle Vincent
Editor: Joe Hobeck
Production designer: Sara K. White
Music: Aesop Rock
Venue: Sundance Film Festival (Midnight)

94 minutes