62 user 52 critic

BuyBust (2018)

Not Rated | | Action, Thriller | 10 August 2018 (USA)
0:53 | Trailer
An anti-drug enforcement agency stages a massive drug bust in the slums of Manila.


Erik Matti


Anton Santamaria (screenplay) (as Anton C. Santamaria), Erik Matti (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
8 wins & 30 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Anne Curtis ... Nina Manigan
Brandon Vera ... Rico Yatco
Victor Neri ... Bernie Lacson
Arjo Atayde ... Biggie Chen
Levi Ignacio ... Chongki
Alex Calleja ... Teban
Lao Rodriguez ... Rudy Dela Cruz
Joross Gamboa ... Cocky
Ricky Pascua Ricky Pascua ... Solomon
Nonie Buencamino ... Director Alvarez
Sheenly Gener ... Alda Lacson
AJ Muhlach ... Gelo Elia
Mara Lopez ... Loren Santos
Tarek El Tayech ... Iggy Hizon
Maddie Martinez Maddie Martinez ... Dora


After surviving the slaughter of her entire squad in a drug raid compromised by dirty cops, anti-narcotics special operative Nina Manigan (Anne Curtis), is eager to go head-to-head with the drug cartels that hold a bloody grip on Manila. But when her new mission in the city's most dangerous slum goes south, the angry civilians turn on her squad. Trapped between a brutal drug gang and hordes of bloodthirsty citizens, their only option is to fight their way out, turning one claustrophobic street at a time into a symphony of apocalyptic violence.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

drug | See All (1) »


Action | Thriller


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Originally set to release in February, 28 2018 but the studio decided to complete the principal photography. See more »

User Reviews

A drug buy-bust operation gone-wrong.
16 August 2018 | by filmreviewphSee all my reviews

People hope for a better life, at the very least a peaceful one. BuyBust is a film that deals with the anti-drug campaign of the government, but the core of such campaign is how will it impact on the lives of the every Filipino.

The film may be predictable from the start but was told in a different fashion. It was not the usual buy bust operation of the anti-drug authorities, the goal is to catch Biggie Chen- a high value target with Shabu laboratories.

What is entharalling is when PDEA operatives headed by Bernie Lacson (Victor Neri) with Nina Manigan-PDEA operative (Anne Curtis) and Detective Dela Cruz along with the Alpha and Bravo teams, were trapped in Baranggay Gracia ni Maria in the slums of Manila, a community that is fiction but an epitome of what Philippine society is.

Gracia ni Maria is maze-like compound with the texture of a shanty town that you could smell the stink and rot in every corner. A community and people forced to protect drug lords and live in fear and violence.

Characters are very real while the action scenes were obviously choreographed and the gun battle sequences are far better than the usual action films of the 90's. Director Erik Matti weaves the story with layers in the plot like Anne Curtis' character (Operative Manigan) who can't seem to forget her drug buy-bust operation in the past that killed all her team members. She became very cautious, uncertain and even doubtful of the Police team leading them. Another layer in the plot is how the people of Gracia ni Maria have suffered in the war against drugs, as they witness violence everyday of their lives.

Anne has certainly prepared for this film, showing her skills in hand to hand combat; even her movements, stance and reactions during gun battle appear to be realistic. Anne has rediscovered herself and maybe considered as the First True Female Action star of Philippine Cinema. Though BuyBust has not really deviated from the formula of action films in the Philippines where the action hero is being attacked by a mob and yet manages to defeat all of them.

Anne's co-actor Brandon Vera (Rico Yatco), muscled and Hulk type character that can defeat an army of enemies at one time, has played his role well as buddy of operative Manigan (Anne) who also believes in amulet to keep him safe. Joross Gamboa is also commendable in his role as Manok (Chicken) who seemed to be at his being state in most of the scenes.

Award-winning supporting actor Joel Saracho, portraying a shanty owner and out of fear, he casually declines to help PDEA Operative Manigan and Yatco on their way out of the compound. The scene typifies how fear has become a normal and casual state for the people. Music is not overwhelming but enough to heighten and build up the action scenes.

BuyBust is action in its real sense, with deafening gun battles, hand to hand combat fight scenes and unending chase sequences around the compound. Manigan (Anne) being the action heroine, as usual, is the last PDEA operative standing.

Manigan and Biggie Chen mano-o mano fight scene is also very real though it is the typical protagonist and antagonist face to face showdown with great reveals as to who are the protectors and snitch within the Police Organization.

One essential element in the film is the people in the community. People have taken arms and have resolved to act; seized to believe that the Government will truly solve the illegal drugs problem. Innocent civilians as always are caught in the cross-fire between the Government and the Drug Lords or even in any war that the government launches. Illegal drugs will not proliferate without the nod of a high-ranking government official. What else is new??-it is a common perception. And the innocent civilians are the victims.

In many of the sequences, community people were also attacking the PDEA and Police Teams, furious and raging like zombies who are ready to eat their preys alive. But in the end, the fury and rage of the people are the bi-product of frustrations and hopelessness from the Government to resolve the social ills of our society.

The film is not only an eye opener about the sincerity of Government on its anti-drug campaign but also a call to action for the people to stand and participate in issues of our Nation, people should become part of the solution and hope is the only thing we should hold onto.

Over-all, Kudos to Director Erik Matti! Setting a new trend in action films and riveting story telling.

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Filipino | Tagalog

Release Date:

10 August 2018 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

BuyBust See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$77,955, 12 August 2018

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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