Prepare for a new Civil War in this action thriller from the duo of Cary Murnion and Jonathan Milott.
On her way to introduce her new boyfriend to her grandmother, Brooklynite Lucy and her boyfriend exit the subway to find it mysteriously empty. They soon see someone running down the stairs in flames. When Lucy’s boyfriend goes to check things out from outside, he is killed in an explosion. Lucy soon realizes her neighborhood is no longer the safe place it was once. Now a total war zone, she attempts to evade anything in sight.
When she sees two thugs kill someone, she finds a supposed abandoned basement and heads inside. The thugs follow and catch her. However, they are not alone. A former Marine turned janitor, Stupe, takes out the thugs and asks Lucy why she is there. Learning she is in serious trouble, Stupe decides to help her get home. When they learn Lucy’s grandmother has been killed, Lucy finds her drug addict sister Belinda and in the midst of things, a soldier arrives. Stupe beats him down and interrogates him. The group learns that Texas has seceded from the United States and with a coalition of other states who are planning the same thing, they plan to make Bushwick their base of operations. Stupe, Lucy, and Belinda soon learn of a demilitarized zone in Queens and the group sets out to head there before they become casualties of a new Civil War.
It seems like as of late, independent action films have begun to explore an alternate universe where the United States becomes in imminent danger of being torn apart. Films like AmeriGeddon and America Has Fallen explored this concept and while this film from the duo of Cary Murnion and Jonathan Milott, who also came up with the story, may seem to take that route, they do something quite brilliant in terms of how they execute their film and this is a concept that truly engages the viewer.
What Murnion and Milott accomplish with this film is that they take a series of long takes to make up the film with very little cuts. While it may take some time to get the film done using this style of cinematography and editing, it clearly brings value in terms of the performances of lead actors Dave Bautista and Brittany Snow as the seasoned war veteran and young woman who at first needs protection but finds herself engaged in the war just as much. Bautista continues to show why he is quite a talent to watch, showing that he can both act and kick some butt when needed. As for Snow, her transition from victim to hero truly shows as she finds herself determined to get to the DMZ before it’s too late.
What the concept of the long take also does is help the supporting cast who truly give great support to Bautista and Snow. Angelic Zambrana plays the drug addict sister of Snow while Jeremie Harris makes the most of his screen time as J.R., a gang leader willing to help the cause but it must come with a condition from the two leads. The long take shots really deliver in the action department as well, as there are loads of shootings, explosions (with a surprising Molotov cocktail from the most unexpected of people), and a few small throwdowns.
In the end, Bushwick really delivers as a great action film, thanks to the concept of many long takes to bring this alternate-United States to life. The performances from the cast really deliver as well with even an ending that may be unexpected but brings a sense of realism. Definitely worth checking out.
WFG RATING: A-
RLJ Entertainment presents a XYZ Films Production in association with Bullet Films, Ralfish Films, and Mensch Productions. Directors: Cary Murnion and Jonathan Milott. Producers: Joseph Mensch, Nate Bolotin, and Adam Folk. Writers: Nick Damici and Graham Reznick; story by Cary Murnion and Jonathan Milott. Cinematography: Lyle Vincent. Editing: Joe Hobeck.
Cast: Dave Bautista, Brittany Snow, Jeremie Harris, Angelic Zambrana, Myra Lucretia Taylor, Christian Navarro, Arturo Castro, Leo Minaya, Quincy Chad, Alex Breaux.
RLJ Entertainment will be releasing this film in select theaters, VOD, and Digital HD on August 25.