6.6/10
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Bomb the System (2002)

R | | Action, Drama | December 2002 (USA)
A tribute to graffiti art and the city where it all began. Blest, a 19-year-old graffiti writer, has just graduated from high school. With no ambition toward mainstream goals of work and ... See full summary »

Director:

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From $1.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

6 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Anthony 'Blest' Campo
Gano Grills ...
Justin 'Buk 50' Broady
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Kevin 'Lune' Broady
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Alexandra
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Hazer
Stephen Buchanan ...
Noble
...
Officer Bobby Cox
Bonz Malone ...
Officer Nole Shorts
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Diane Campo
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Kumar Baba
Blake Lethem ...
Lazaro
Dylan Mikson ...
Gabriel
Joshua Gustin ...
Young Blest
...
Toni
Semz ...
Knife
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Storyline

A tribute to graffiti art and the city where it all began. Blest, a 19-year-old graffiti writer, has just graduated from high school. With no ambition toward mainstream goals of work and family, he spends his time bombing the city with graffiti messages until he and his crew become the most wanted bombers by the corrupt NYPD Vandal Squad. He even attracts major media and gallery attention for his tags. Also part of Blest's crew are Buk 50 and his younger brother Lune, whose arrest and beating by the NYPD causes the crew to wage a full-on graffiti war against the city. As they fight with their spray cans and their tags, Blest meets a political activist, Alexandra. Soon after, Blest's relationship with Buk 50 and the crew fragments as Blest ponders his position in life. Written by David Kwok

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Graffiti Can Be A Powerful Weapon

Genres:

Action | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for pervasive language, drug use, some violence and sexuality/nudity | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

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Country:

Language:

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Release Date:

December 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Brooklyn Streets  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Budget:

$500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$9,176 (USA) (27 May 2005)

Gross:

$14,865 (USA) (10 June 2005)
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Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Goofs

The word "precinct" is misspelled in the newspaper headline that is seen after the undercover police car is tagged with graffiti. See more »

Connections

Featured in The 2004 IFP/West Independent Spirit Awards (2004) See more »

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User Reviews

Heady, energetic film about graffiti.
11 January 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"A graffiti writer doesn't expect to get caught, like a cop never expects to get shot". That's one of many phrases to live by for a group of graffiti artists, or "bombers", in Brooklyn. BOMB THE SYSTEM, which I knew next to nothing about going in, is a heady, energetic film about a particular subculture. Can't say I really care all that much about how graffiti gets where it gets or those responsible, but I can't deny how well made the movie is. The hip-hop music, an old-school mix by El P (whoever), the editing style, the bleached out color palate -- every storytelling device at Director Adam Bhala Lough's disposal is perfectly suited, if just a tad overused, to the material. We're in good hands, here.

Blest (Mark Webber, hardly recognizable from the lifeless STORYTELLING) has bombed since he can remember. Since his brother died doing the same. Jacking spraypaint cans -- because a true artist never pays -- running from the law, leaving his mark on the sides of buildings and trucks, his sights set on the Brooklyn Bridge one of these days. He and his gang hang out, smoke pot, get drunk and appreciate "the colors, the blends and the smell of paint". These guys keep regular day jobs, the majority of them anyway, and do their thing at night, maintaining rivalries over territory with other gangs, searching for that one spot nobody has touched and that'll bring them a little slice of immortality.

Blest understands his scene. "If I'm gonna risk going to jail, it's gonna be for bombin' and nothing else," he explains to his girlfriend, a fellow writer named Alex (the cute as hell Jaclyn DeSantis). And, it's not like he doesn't have options in life: Alex offers an open invitation for Blest to join her and go cross country; his own crew is asking him to step up and take more initiative right where he is, and he has just been accepted to an art institute. Added to which, maybe he's ready to give it all up for good; "our pieces keep gettin' buffed as soon as we paint them". Graffiti is temporary. After a while, what's the point?

BOMB THE SYSTEM is kind of sketchy from a plot standpoint (it's got that beat of everyday life, so nothing really happens), and it has more of a political agenda than the desire to tell a story, per se. But, I love the philosophising in Lough's screenplay; his dialogue is very urban, profane and also quite literate. I love the way these guys talk to one another. A corrupt police officer tracking Blest and his gang's activity has a particularly objective way of thinking: he doesn't have a problem with prostitution but doesn't want to see them walking the street, either. Same deal with graffiti. If art is what you are doing, do it at home. Want the services of a hooker, call an 800 number and have one come to your home. Discretion is key. While that doesn't make the cop a fully realized character, it's nice to hear someone with an opinion express it clearly. Which is pretty much the case with this entire cast. Noone gets the proper developmental treatment, but at least they have ideas.

The movie doesn't have a beating heart beneath its shiny surface, but what a surface. I hope Lough learns the beauty of the sustained shot; he's too smart not to. SYSTEM is overly busy for its own visual good, at times. An inventive exercise in style. Tone poetry, if you will.


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