“Bomb City” just keeps on having its Caucasian adolescents scream into the ether until you get it: angry middle-American teenagers are all not alike!
First-time feature director Jameson Brooks’ overwrought indie melodrama turns a real-life case from 1997 of white-on-white violence between combat-booted punks and snarling high school football players in Amarillo, Texas, into a “who’s the real threat” cautionary tale, one with the eye-rolling impact of “Reefer Madness,” or perhaps a profane after-school special about books, covers and judging.
The assumption is that we’ll initially view mohawk-sporting, fight-the-power skateboarder Brian (Dave Davis) as some scary other. The reality is he grins all the time, loves his parents (who smile right back), has entrepreneurial ambition (punk nightclubs are a business, after all), gets a crush on a nose-ringed hanger-on (Maemae Renfrow), treats her with respect, and even shops for puppies with her. Maybe it’s the rich, privileged, serial-killer-eyed kids driving daddy’s Cadillac and picking fights who are the bad guys, huh?
With flash-forward courtroom scenes in which the punk lifestyle is put on trial by a shouting attorney, and sledgehammer parallels that juxtapose mosh pits with brutal football and how unequally the cops treat punks (with violence) versus jocks (run along, kids), it’s as if Brooks can’t wait to get to the fatal parking lot scrap that serves up his tragic bloody martyr, slo-mo-enhanced sense of injustice, and scoring cues out of an alien invasion flick. The message is lost in this laughably deck-stacked journey, a movie-long version of “They started it!”
Running time: 1 hour, 38 minutes
Playing: Arena Cinelounge Sunset, Hollywood