Bullet Points: Bushwick
Right or wrong, I am the type of person who avoids over indulging in news related programming on television and radio. From where I sit, life is just too short to dwell on all the negatives in the world around us, especially those things that are completely out of our control… plus, there are way too many action movies for me to watch.
But every now and then an action movie, like 2017’s Bushwick, comes out that incorporates the real life fears of what would happen if the world as we know it came crashing down around us. Bushwick takes some of the worst case scenarios we normally only hear spewing from the mouths of conspiracy theorists on television and radio, and depicts these horrific events in living color…
- Introducing Lucy: The movie begins with college student Lucy (Brittany Snow) and her boyfriend Jose at a subway station in the Bushwick portion of Brooklyn, New York. Lucy is back home for a visit and is going to introduce her family to Jose, but as the young couple walk through the station an announcement comes over the PA system that subway service has been suspended, they also notice that the station is eerily empty, well except for one guy who runs by in the background screaming because he is on fire! As they approach the stairs to get up to street level they hear gunshots, alarms and sirens of every kind, Jose wanting to prove how much machismo he has, tells Lucy to wait and he’ll go up and see what’s going on… seconds later we hear a massive explosion and a badly burned Jose returns only to die at the feet of his lady love. Lucy naturally freaks out, but moments later goes up to the street herself to see what is going on… it is total chaos with men in full tactical gear running around shooting everyday people.
- Introducing Stupe: Lucy finds out the military guys aren’t the only ones she needs to worry about. There are also some ne’er do wells who are taking advantage of all the anarchy by robbing and looting and pillaging and plundering. When Lucy spots two guys robbing and killing a guy in an alley, she takes off running before they do the same to her. Lucy finds an open door to a basement in a building and hides out in there. The two bad dudes come looking for her and when they find her, not only do they want all her money and valuables, they want to rape her too… fortunately the man who lives in the basement shows up and beats the two dudes to death, that man is Stupe (Dave Bautista). We eventually learn that Stupe is a former medic with the USMC, who after the death of his wife and son during the attack on the World Trade Center is now working as a janitor and doing his best to distance himself from the rest of the world.
- To Grandmother’s House We Go: At this point Lucy and Stupe become unlikely allies, as Lucy is bound and determined to find her family and Stupe realizes without his help there is no way Lucy will survive. Stupe’s military training allows the odd couple to navigate the streets and avoid being killed by rooftop snipers and the tactical forces that are doing sweeps of every building in Bushwick, but they do not come out completely unscathed… Stupe gets a shard of glass in his leg and has to give Lucy a crash course in how to cauterize a wound. When the two finally arrive at Lucy’s grandmother’s house, Lucy finds her grandmother dead on the floor. A distraught Lucy is undeterred as she takes off to find her sister Belinda who lives nearby. When Stupe and Lucy arrive at Belinda’s she is high as a kite and very much alive. Belinda is also completely oblivious to what is going on in the world outside of her apartment walls… she thought all the gunshots and explosions were the neighbors upstairs blaring Call of Duty. Typical stoner. The sisterly reunion is interrupted when one of the “men in black” comes through the window… Stupe subdues him and then interrogates him so we finally find out why all this carnage is happening. The young man informs them that Texas has seceded from the union, forming their own army with the cooperation of several other southern states. Yes folks, it is a new Civil War! The original plan was to take the citizens of New York captive but the “military masterminds” who devised the plan did not account for the people of New York fighting back, so then they altered the plan for their men to shoot and kill on sight.
- Strange Bedfellows: If a current janitor/former Marine joining forces with a college student and a stoner was not strange enough, how about that trio working with some local gang bangers to utilize the gang’s massive assortment of weapons to get as many people to a park where the United States Army has set up an evacuation site as possible Well it happens as the third act of the film sees our weary heroes make one last push for survival, with Lucy really standing out and coming into her own, finding an intestinal fortitude a person never really knows they have until they find themselves in a do or die situation.
Bushwick pushed Dave Bautista to his most dramatic performance to date, much like the Guardians of the Galaxy movies tested his comedic chops. Seeing Bautista as a normal human being and not some larger than life comic book character or monster villain was a huge change, but I think Big Dave pulled it off.
Brittany Snow did a great job in the believability department. The Lucy character had a pretty extreme arc. Lucy is a completely different person when we first lay eyes on her and when we last see her in the film. Combined with the writing, Snow’s performance made that metamorphosis seem feasible.
- The Verdict: If you are looking for an over the top actioner to help you escape reality for 90 minutes or so and get your adrenaline pumping, Bushwick is not your movie. There is no charismatic villain. There are no witty one liners from our heroes. There are no bad guys getting blown away in ridiculous fashion. The realism of the movie makes you wonder if the movie’s exaggerated scenario could really play out in our divisive society and there is nothing fun about that possibility. But, if you are looking for a thought provoking actioner, then Bushwick is definitely the movie for you.
Disclaimer: The movie bummed me out so much, I don’t even have any of my customary Bonus Bullet Points to share.