Sidewinder’s View: Bushwick (2017) [SPOILERS]

From 2017, this morning’s first movie.

Bushwick-movie-poster

Really, really good for the first 20 minutes or so, when the tension in the film was concerned solely with characters navigating the violent chaos of a suddenly apocalyptic urban environment in an effort to survive and find sanctuary.

Unpredictable, horrific, and moving at a breakneck pace. I was incredibly impressed with this portion of the movie.

There’s very little dialogue in this early portion of the movie, with the story told visually. I wish more films nowadays had the nerve to do this. Telling a story through dialogue is so TV-like, boring, and, worst of all, lazy. Since this film was relying primarily on action choreography to tell its story and build suspense, I was really in to it. But then…

…once the characters made it to “Grandma’s house”, the pace and tension of the story began losing steam. After the two main characters had made their trek to Pothead Sister’s apartment, the movie slowed down even further. The more the characters talked, the less interesting I found them. Some, like Pothead Sister, I didn’t like at all.

Once it was revealed who was responsible for causing all the chaos, the movie screeched to a halt. All the mystery generated during the early portion of the film evaporated. We were told who the bad guys were. The entire venture began to creak under the weight of its political pretensions, Modern Hollywood Predictable as they were.

bushwickdoppelganger
Note how a James O’Keefe lookalike was cast as the fascist mouthpiece who explains the secessionist/invasion plot to the main characters.

I found this plot conceit about as convincing as the similar, if politically opposite, conceit put forth in the 1985 Chuck Norris flick Invasion U.S.A..

Which is to say not very convincing at all.

Bushwick

Martial law has been declared in Brooklyn, along with several other large cities across the country, after a ruthless army of mercenaries, fighting on behalf of racist, right-wing secessionists, begin rounding up, then slaughtering, residents of these urban areas.

Invasion U.S.A.

Martial law has been declared in Miami, Florida, after a ruthless army of mercenaries, fighting on behalf of a ruthless Soviet operative intent on destabilizing the United States, begins slaughtering residents in a campaign of urban terrorism.

The idea that a large group of gun-toting Southerners would believe that major cities like New York, due to their stricter gun laws, would be pushovers for invasion by an armed tactical force of mercenaries…because nobody in New York City has firearms, not even the criminal element…was ludicrous.

I also found the film’s conceit that a large group of Southerners had any desire to invade NYC, for any reason, was also far-fetched. My wife grew up partly in Texas and still has family there. Having lived in Texas for a brief time, I still have friends there. Unlike the movie’s right-wing boogeymen, I believe most Texans just want to be left alone.

If Bushwick had been made by right-wing filmmakers who instead posited the notion that an armed tactical force of government agents were going on this rampage in an attempt to confiscate privately-owned firearms…believing, for whatever reason, that no one would have the ability or inclination to resist with those firearms…I would have still found it absurd.

Why explain anything, I thought? Why not just keep the nature of the threat abstract, as it had been during the first third of the movie? Help your movie maintain a more universal appeal for action fans instead of alienating half your audience with political posturing.

By the time the movie was over, I’d already tuned out. Principal characters were dead, except the one that annoyed me the most, and I found myself utterly uninvolved in the story. The ending was a big bummer, with very little resolution. Which, I guess, means it’s profound or something. I simply found it lazy.

“A New Yorker’s version of Red Dawn“.

Leftists have mocked Red Dawn for years as right-wing paranoia. Now, apparently, they have their own version. You can tell Bushwick‘s made by lefties because it’s such a downer, from start to finish. At least Red Dawn and the Chuck Norris/Cannon flicks had comic relief and optimistic, if not happy, endings so you didn’t walk out of the theater wanting to slash your own throat.

You know a movie’s failed when the first thing you want to do when you finish watching it is to pop in your Blu-ray of an admittedly goofy Chuck Norris/Cannon flick from over 30 years ago.

If I’m going to sit through an explosion-and-bullet-riddled Action-Thriller tinged with political paranoia, at least let it be something entertaining and unpretentious.

 

Invasion Bushwick USA collage
Same concept, different decades, different politics.
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