by Hope Madden
Who was not delighted and surprised by David Bautista’s runaway comedic performance in 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy?
And truth be told, his turn in the sequel was funnier still. Dave Bautista is comic gold!
Drama, on the other hand, is still just a tad outside his grasp.
Bautista stars with Brittany Snow (Pitch Perfect) in Bushwick, a real-time(ish) survival adventure.
Lucy (Snow) brings a new beau home to her Brooklyn neighborhood Bushwick to meet the fam. Weirdly, there is not a soul in their subway station – aside from that screaming man who’s on fire. That’s extreme, even for New York.
Bombs, snipers and general mayhem greet the two as they try to leave the underground and head to Lucy’s grandma’s place. What is happening?
Directors Cary Murnion and Jonathan Milott want to take a minute before laying it all out for you. It’s not a bad narrative decision – having the audience share in Lucy’s confusion. The directors make a handful of worthy choices, the most provocative and obvious of which is the sleight of hand used to make the film look and feel like one long take.
Beyond the visual trickery employed to minimize the noticeability of cuts, most scenes are delivered as if caught in one take. Actors stumble over lines, for instance, in much the same way humans might when conversing.
There’s even a chance it could have even worked to generate urgency and underscore the raw, wild ride of the adventure if the writing weren’t so bad and the actors had talent.
Snow could not be more irritating or less believable and Bautista, God help us, is asked to deliver an earnest, emotionally devastated monolog.
He’s awful, but he’s not alone. Everyone is. In fact, the most common comment in my notes from the film: This is so bad.
The one reason the film may stick out this weekend is its utterly amazing timing.
Bushwick has been invaded by a well-armed, organized militia of entitled racists.
Shut the F up.
The film won’t satisfy your blood lust, your peaceful dreams or your hope for a decent movie. But damn, its timing is eerie.