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Bushwick (Blu-ray Review)

Emerging from a NY subway on her way home from college, Lucy (Brittany Snow, Pitch Perfect) discovers her neighborhood of Bushwick engulfed in utter chaos. Trying to escape the violence, Lucy seeks refuge in the basement of Stupe (Dave Bautista, Guardians of the Galaxy), a former Marine on his way out of town to find his family. As the unlikely pair navigate through a hail of gunfire and lethal explosions, they learn they are in the middle of a civil war as Texas attempts to secede from the US. With the clash between local residents and the militia escalating, Lucy and Stupe must rely on each other in an impossible race to get out of the city and survive another day.

Film 

Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol & II, Blade Runner” 2049) seems to be everywhere these days. His newest film also stars Brittany Snow (Pitch Perfect 1 & 2, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend). The action begins as Texas has begun to secede from the United States and has joined forces with other like-minded states. Their first mission is to seize control of New York, through Bushwick in Brooklyn, and use it as bargaining chip against the President.

Lucy (Snow) and Stupe (Bautista) are strangers that have been forced to team up against this unusual revolt. The setting is the “Bushwick” neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York. They have to navigate the treacherous 5-block terrain in order for Lucy to get to her grandmother’s house and for Stupe to get to Hoboken, New Jersey to save his family.

Bushwick is fairly by the numbers and if one had never seen the promotional materials for the film, would think it is set up like a traditional zombie monster flick. It is not that. Zombies are not in this film. What is quite interesting is that the film is set up of really long and masterfully hidden takes. It’s like watching Alfred Hitchcock’s Rope on acid. The opening scene of the film is at least 10-minutes long before the subtle transition to the next take. I loved that aspect of the film.

As far as Lucy and Stupe — they made for an okay duo that has to get out of the city. Stupe has to make sure Lucy doesn’t do something stupid and get them both killed. There’s danger at every corner and they do a miraculously good job of getting through most of to one piece. The film takes place in the span of just one day, but the way the film is edited makes it seem like it is in real time.

As an action film Bushwick is terrific. As an exercise in style Bushwick also exceeds all expectations. It was directed by Cary Murnion & Johnathan Milot of Cooties fame. Cooties was a lot of fun, but that film had a script by Leigh Wannell of Saw and Insidious fame. This does not. That is its ultimate downfall. The script has interesting starting points that never develop. You have the main plot point of Texas seceding from the country. Ok? Why and how? What led up to this predicament? What is the President doing? What is going on in Texas? What is going on with the other states that have joined Texas? The list is quite endless. Yes, I understand that Bushwick is only a “glimpse” of what is going on, but the plot needed some more fleshing out.

Bautista and Snow are good enough to carry this film all the way to the end. Be warned that the film is bleak and borders or nihilism, but depending on your home theater set-up, will pull you into the action. It is definitely like a video game — I wish it just had more depth to it. I think a television show based on this film would flesh out what is missing here.

 

Video 

Encoding: AVC/MPEG-4

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

Clarity/Detail: The film was obviously shot on digital — it does have some diffusion going that becomes sort of painful to watch in some scenes. It’s as if they’re trying to make the film look more expensive by artificially adding lighting effects. This is not saying that the source is garbage — it’s not, but diffused effects only distract.

Depth: It was rather overcast day in Brooklyn — the helicopter shots look fantastic and really make those scenes stick out in a good way — the aerial photography is stellar.

Black Levels: There are a couple of scenes that take place in dark interiors and those look great. Black levels are deep and inky, and come through during scene of darkness.

Color Reproduction: The color palette is vibrant in parts — mostly when the film takes place in the heart of the Bushwick neighborhood. There is colorful graffiti and murals throughout some of the more industrial parts of town. Since the film is quite cold, that carries over into the overall aesthetic of the film, so the color palette isn’t always rainbows, etc.

Flesh Tones: Aside from injuries everyone looks tip-top — maybe a few pasty souls running about, as well.

Noise/Artifacts: The image is clean and artifact free.

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD MA 5.1

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish SDH

Dynamics: Bushwick is presented in DTS-HD MA 5.1 and it is a phenomenal loss soundtrack. Watching the film, it’s as if I was plucked and set right in the middle of action in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn. The film is action packed and the lossless track handles it all with ease. This is a reference-demo track for sure.

Low Frequency Extension: The subwoofer channel worked in some overtime on this demo-track. There plenty of rumbles and hefty explosions that got a big kick out of what the LFE was cooking.

Surround Sound Presentation: Rear channel separation was quite vivid — I hear the bullets, grenades, and Molotov cocktails zoom by and over my head — along with the helicopters.

Dialogue Reproduction: Dialogue was crystal clear amid the explosions and gunfire.

 

Extras 

The extras on the Bushwick Blu-ray are extremely slim. The making-of documentary is less than ten minutes. At least they highlighted the fact that it was actually shot in Brooklyn and the neighborhood being depicted in the title. A photo and poster gallery are also included — and a DVD copy of the film, as well.

  • The Making of Bushwick (HD)
  • Photo Gallery (HD)
  • Behind The Scenes Photo Gallery (HD)
  • Poster Gallery (HD)
  • DVD (SD)

Summary 

Bushwick is more style over substance — I needed a bit more meat and potatoes, but I accept that the film did not have the budget allotted for that. The finished product is bleak as all hell. The Blu-ray fares a bit better in terms of video and (most definitely) audio. The extras are slim, though. Bushwick may not be a great film, but should be more than enough as a afternoon time waster.

 

 

Bushwick is released on

Blu-ray & DVD October 24th!

ORDER NOW! 

 

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Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

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