BuyBust (Movie)

Title — BuyBust
Available on — Netflix, Prime Video
Production Country — Philippines
Release Date — 2018
In a mazelike Manila slum, at war with incensed civilians and a brutal cartel, special agent Nina Manigan must fight her way through one fierce night.

🪶 Story & Synopsis

In the gripping action thriller “BuyBust,” directed by Erik Matti, viewers are thrown into the chaotic world of anti-narcotics special operative Nina Manigan, portrayed by Anne Curtis. The film delves into the intense and dangerous reality of drug raids in Manila, where Nina finds herself as the lone survivor of a botched operation due to corrupt cops.

Seeking vengeance and justice, Nina eagerly takes on a new mission in the city’s most perilous slum, determined to confront the ruthless drug cartels that plague Manila. However, her plans take a harrowing turn when the operation goes awry, and the enraged residents of the slum turn against Nina and her team.

Caught in a deadly crossfire between a vicious drug gang and a bloodthirsty mob, Nina and her squad must fight for survival. The film masterfully portrays the tension and brutality of the situation, as the beleaguered operatives navigate through a nightmarish landscape of betrayal and violence.

Anne Curtis delivers a powerful performance as Nina Manigan, portraying her as a resilient and determined protagonist facing insurmountable odds. The ensemble cast, including Brandon Vera, Victor Neri, and Arjo Atayde, adds depth to the narrative, bringing to life a vivid and gritty portrayal of the war on drugs.

Despite the intense action sequences and high-stakes drama, “BuyBust” also delves into the moral complexities of the drug war, raising questions about justice, corruption, and the human cost of the conflict. The film challenges viewers to confront the harsh realities of a society torn apart by drugs and violence.

With pulse-pounding thrills, heart-pounding suspense, and a powerhouse performance by Anne Curtis, “BuyBust” is a must-watch for fans of gritty action cinema. Director Erik Matti deftly navigates the tumultuous landscape of Manila’s underworld, delivering a film that is both exhilarating and thought-provoking.

🧑 Cast & Crew

Anne Curtis, Brandon Vera, Victor Neri, Arjo Atayde, Levi Ignacio, Alex Calleja, Lao Rodriguez, Joross Gamboa, Ricky Pascua, Nonie Buencamino

Actor Role
Anne Curtis Nina Manigan
Brandon Vera Rico Yatco
Victor Neri Bernie Lacson
Arjo Atayde Biggie Chen
Nonie Buencamino Detective Alvarez
Lao Rodriguez Detective Dela Cruz
Alex Calleja Teban
Levi Ignacio Chongki
Ricky Pascua Solomon
Joross Gamboa Manok

💬 Reviews and feedback

Hey there, movie buffs! Ready to dive into the chaotic and adrenaline-fueled world of BuyBust? Strap in as we unravel the intense and action-packed journey that this film takes you on!

Imagine a mix between a high-stakes game of cops and robbers and a heart-pounding action sequence that keeps you on the edge of your seat. That’s BuyBust in a nutshell – a rollercoaster ride through the gritty streets of Manila, where the line between good and bad blurs into a frenzy of bullets, fists, and raw emotion.

Plot and Themes:

  • Plot: The story revolves around Nina Manigan, played by Anne Curtis, who finds herself as the lone survivor of a doomed mission by an anti-drug enforcement agency in the slums of Manila. The film dives deep into the murky waters of extrajudicial killings during Duterte’s war on drugs, raising questions about morality, justice, and survival.
  • Themes: BuyBust delves into the complexities of entrapment operations and the ethical dilemmas faced by law enforcement agencies. It challenges viewers to ponder whether it’s the flawed system or human nature that drives such brutal actions.

Acting and Characters:

Anne Curtis shines as Nina Manigan, portraying her as a tough yet vulnerable heroine thrust into a deadly game of cat and mouse. The ensemble cast delivers gripping performances, immersing you in a world where every betrayal and alliance keeps you guessing till the end.

Direction and Cinematography:

Erik Matti’s direction injects raw intensity into every scene, capturing the chaotic energy of Manila’s slums with breathtaking visuals. The cinematography paints a vivid picture of desperation and survival amidst the concrete jungle, enhancing the gritty realism of the narrative.

Action Sequences and Special Effects:

The action sequences in BuyBust are nothing short of electrifying. From deafening gun battles to adrenaline-pumping chase scenes, each moment is choreographed to perfection, keeping your heart racing with every twist and turn. The special effects add an extra layer of authenticity to the brutal violence portrayed on screen.

Pace, Editing, and Dialogues:

The film maintains a relentless pace from start to finish, never letting up on its grip over your senses. The seamless editing ensures that every scene flows seamlessly into the next, amplifying the tension with each passing minute. The dialogues are sharp and impactful, delivering punches both verbal and physical throughout the narrative.

Binge-watching Tips:

  • Keep your popcorn ready for this one! The non-stop action will have you glued to your seat till the very end.
  • Pay attention to subtle character dynamics – they hold clues to twists that will leave you stunned!

So, what’s my final take on BuyBust? Drumroll please… I give it a solid 8/10! It’s not just another action flick; it’s a pulse-pounding experience that will leave you breathless yet craving for more.

In conclusion, BuyBust is a cinematic thrill ride that pulls no punches in its portrayal of lawless chaos amidst urban decay. It challenges conventions while delivering an adrenaline rush like no other. So grab your snacks, buckle up, and immerse yourself in this intense world where survival is not guaranteed!

Pros Cons
Action-packed with intense gun battles Excessive violence may not be suitable for all viewers
Captures the gritty reality of the drug underworld Some unknown actors in the ensemble cast
Addresses important social issues like extrajudicial killings Plot may be predictable at times
Strong performance by lead actress Anne Curtis Some critics find the body count excessive
Visually stunning with a chaotic and immersive setting Some viewers may find the setting too grim
Received high ratings on Rotten Tomatoes Character development could be improved


  • BuyBust - Wikipedia

    BuyBust(stylized as) is a 2018 Philippine action thriller film co-written and directed by Erik Matti. It stars an ensemble cast top-billed by Anne Curtis and Brandon Vera. The plot centers on a team summoned by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) to conduct a drug bust in a Manila slum. Realizing the mission is poorly executed, the team find themselves trapped by settlers and attempts to escape by fighting their way out. The film has been viewed as a social commentary on the controversial Philippine Drug War initiated by the Duterte government.

  • BuyBust (2018) - IMDb

    Erik Matti’s not so best but good.A totally credible action flick that’s got a lot going on under the hood. Must-see.helpful•33

    • joanacatbagan
    • Feb 17, 2019
    • How long is BuyBust?Powered by Alexa

    DetailsBox office

    • Gross US & Canada
      • $178,471
    • Opening weekend US & Canada
      • $77,955
      • Aug 12, 2018
    • Gross worldwide
      • $223,720
    • Runtime2 hours 7 minutes
    • Color
    • Aspect ratio
      • 2.35 : 1

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  • BuyBust | Rotten Tomatoes

    BuyBustWhere to WatchBuyBust

    Watch BuyBust with a subscription on Netflix, rent on Fandango at Home, Prime Video, or buy on Fandango at Home, Prime Video.

    Critics ReviewsAudience ReviewsCast & Crew

    Erik MattiDirectorAnne CurtisNina ManiganBrandon VeraRico YatcoAJ MuhlachGelo EliaAlex CallejaTebanVictor NeriBernie Lacson

⚠️ Explanation (Spoiler)

In the movie “BuyBust,” directed by Erik Matti, viewers are taken on a gritty journey through the streets of Manila as they follow the rebellious and tough heroine, Manigan, played by Pinoy star Anne Curtis. The film is often compared to “The Raid” due to their shared producers and similar premise of a drug bust gone wrong.

The story revolves around Manigan and her team as they find themselves trapped in a labyrinthine slum controlled by the drug dealer Biggie Chen. The film focuses on the intense action sequences as the team navigates through the narrow alleys and tin-roofed shacks, facing off against Chen’s henchmen.

Anne Curtis delivers a strong performance as Manigan, showcasing her intuition and resilience in a dangerous and volatile environment. Director Erik Matti captures the sensitivity of Curtis’ performance through effective close-ups, adding depth to her character beyond being a mere Ripley clone.

One of the standout characters in the film is Manigan’s mountainous colleague, Rico, played by Brandon Vera, who brings a charismatic presence reminiscent of wrestlers-turned-actors like Dave Bautista and Dwayne Johnson. The film explores themes of loyalty, betrayal, and the moral dilemmas faced by the characters in the face of extreme violence and corruption.

Despite some compelling action set pieces, “BuyBust” is criticized for its at times monotonous and uninspired fight scenes, as well as its reliance on physical strength over athletic prowess. The film also delves into a subplot involving a mole within the team, adding a layer of intrigue to the narrative.

Overall, “BuyBust” offers a visceral and intense viewing experience, with moments of suspense and adrenaline-pumping action. While it may not reach the heights of other recent action films like “The Raid” or “Dredd,” the film stands out for its raw and unflinching portrayal of a police operation spiraling out of control in the dangerous underworld of Manila.

👪 Parents Guide & Age Rating


Age Rating:

The movie BuyBust (2018) has been rated R16 in The Philippines, which means only viewers aged 16 and above are admitted. This rating is due to the intense violence and gore, profanity, and other mature themes depicted in the film.

Parental Guide:


The movie contains intense and graphic violence throughout, including gun battles, hand-to-hand combat, and scenes of characters being injured and killed. There are depictions of blood, wounds, and dead bodies. The violence is realistic and may be disturbing for some viewers.


There are instances of strong language and profanity used throughout the movie. These include swear words, crude language, and insults. Parents should be aware that the dialogue contains offensive language.


There are scenes that depict drug use, including characters using and trafficking drugs. Additionally, alcohol consumption is shown in some scenes. Smoking is also depicted. These behaviors are portrayed in a realistic manner.


There are several intense and suspenseful scenes in the movie that may be frightening for younger viewers. The atmosphere is tense, and characters are in constant danger, which could be unsettling for some audience members.

Parents are advised to consider these content elements before allowing their children to watch BuyBust. The movie is recommended for viewers aged 16 and above due to its mature themes, violence, and language.

📺 Streaming and where to watch

streaming service extra information
Netflix BuyBust is available on Netflix for a subscription fee of $6.99/month.
Prime Video BuyBust can be rented or bought on Prime Video. It is available for rent for as low as $2.99 and for purchase at $7.99.

❝ Quotes and Cult

  • BuyBust is a superbly executed action film about drug squad members fighting for their lives in a maze-like Manila slum that resembles nothing ...
    Richard Kuipers
  • BuyBust is blunt, brash, and at times, teetering towards being bizarre. Matti is clearly on a mission to push the envelope in terms of both creating bizarre and unique spectacles out of slum-set ...
  • BuyBust is a 2018 Philippine action thriller film co-written and directed by Erik Matti.
  • BuyBust is a superbly executed action film about drug squad members fighting for their lives in a maze-like Manila slum that resembles nothing less than hell on earth.
  • BuyBust is a superbly executed action film about drug squad members fighting for their lives in a maze-like Manila slum that resembles nothing less than hell on earth.
    Reality Entertainment
  • BuyBust is a superbly executed action film about drug squad members fighting for their lives in a maze-like Manila slum that resembles nothing less than hell on earth.
    Richard Kuipers
  • BuyBust is a superbly executed action film about drug squad members fighting for their lives in a maze-like Manila slum that resembles nothing less than hell on earth.
    Simon Abrams

🤖BuyBust Reddit Talks

BuyBust (2018) Movie Discussion Thread – SPOILER ALERT


  • “Here’s a film that delivers fantastic cinematography and a social commentary twists that were at its core entertaining and pure fun.”

Buybust’s one long shot is my favorite single continuous …

  • “Buybust’s one long shot is my favorite single continuous shot in Philippine Cinema. What’s yours?”

Buybust starring Anne Curtis got 100% on Rotten …

  • “This week, there are seven certified fresh movies and only one rotten movie in RottenTomatoes Box Office Top 10.”

Buy Bust : r/FilmClubPH

  • “For me lang, I found it boring. Di ko bet yung movie and I didn’t like the story.”

BuyBust is now up on Netflix! : r/Philippines

  • “Jackie Chan is a martial artist. He can get away with quick movements and believable action sequences. We had movie stars do action scenes. They weren’t good.”

Buybust : r/Philippines

  • “The movie “On the job” is also a superb film and Joey Marquez’s last scene is legendary!”

Just watched BuyBust. : r/Philippines

  • “Of all the drug war – themed movie, Neomanila by Mikhail Red is still the best so far.”

Filipino Films and Where to Watch Them : r/FilmClubPH

  • “Buy Bust, Patay Na Si Hesus, A Hard Day (a remake of a Korean film of the same title), and Leonor Never Dies on Netflix. Salvage on IWantTFC.”

Other Discussions

  • Is BuyBust on Netflix?
    • Yes, BuyBust is available on Netflix with a subscription.
  • Will there be BuyBust 2?
    • Yes, a sequel to BuyBust is in the works and is expected to be released in May 2024.
  • What is a BuyBust operation?
    • A buy-bust operation is a form of entrapment, in which the violator is caught in flagrante delicto and the police officers conducting the operation are not only authorized but duty bound to apprehend the violator and to search him for anything that may have been part of or used in the commission of the crime.
  • Who is Alvarez in BuyBust?
    • Alvarez is the Director of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in the movie BuyBust.

Top discussions

❓ Frequently Asked Questions

Who is the main character in BuyBust?

The main character in BuyBust is Nina Manigan, played by Anne Curtis. She is a Drug Enforcement Agency recruit and the sole survivor of a team wiped out in a disastrous operation.

What is the central theme of BuyBust?

BuyBust revolves around an anti-drug enforcement agency staging a massive drug bust in the slums of Manila. It also delves into the issues of extrajudicial killings during Duterte’s drug war and questions whether it is the system or individuals to blame.

What is the meaning of a buy-bust operation?

In a buy-bust operation, a poseur-buyer from the law enforcement agency acts as a buyer of illegal drugs from a suspect. This entrapment method is commonly used in anti-narcotics operations.

Who is Director Alvarez in BuyBust?

Director Alvarez in BuyBust is played by Nonie Buencamino. He is a character involved in the team summoned by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) to conduct a drug bust in a Manila slum.

Will there be a BuyBust 2?

Currently, a sequel to BuyBust is in the works, with Anne Curtis reprising her role. The sequel is expected to continue the action-packed narrative of the original movie.

🔀 Recommended Movie and TV Show

  1. On The Job: The Missing 8: A Filipino crime thriller movie similar to BuyBust, directed by Erik Matti.
  2. Birdshot: A Filipino film that shares similarities with BuyBust in the action thriller genre.
  3. The Raid: An intense action-packed movie comparable to BuyBust in terms of thrilling sequences.
  4. Extraction: A gripping action film with elements similar to BuyBust in terms of intensity.
  5. John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum: A movie with high-octane action similar to BuyBust.

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