Much like an intense gun battle, releases are hitting the shelves as fast as the bullets are zinging past our collective ears. “Bullet To The Head” doesn’t reinvent the wheel but it works as a no-nonsense action thriller reminiscent of some of the early films in the Sly Stallone cinematic canon.
Jimmy Bobo (Sylvester Stallone), is a New Orleans hit man who is laying low after getting double crossed on his latest job and Detective Taylor Kwon (Sung Kang), an out of town cop in town tracking down a former partner turned crook in order to bring down a criminal underworld. These unlikely partners form an alliance to brings down the killers of their respective partners and get the job done right.
On the shelf for quite a while and released theatrically this past winter, “Bullet To The Head” is this unique specimen of an action film that while shot present day, feels like a 1980’s action film with really no irony to it at all. Director Walter Hill essentially channels some of his early directorial efforts as this violent unlikely buddy cop movie doesn’t necessarily have the same charm of some of his earlier efforts this still provides the body count along with the one-liners that you’d expect. The action was solid, and the back drop of New Orleans is always effective as a locale for seeding underhanded dealings to be going on and while screenwriter Alessandro Camon who adapted this film from the graphic novel “Du Plomb Dans La Tete” probably keeps some of the dialogue a little too over the top and close to the source material, but it’s not a film that is meant to be taken 100% straight either (I mean there is a climatic axe fight after all). As this film navigates this somewhat odd tone in this 1980’s action movie bubble, it works for what it is…a violent romp, thanks to our two charismatic leads.
Syl still works a little bit of his magic as Jimmy ‘Bobo’, the local hired hit man but so much of what transpires on screen feels like it should have happened between 1985 and 1993, and while effective seeing a 67 year old Stallone go through the motions of a role that he should have played between the ages of 38 and 45 was fairly awkward. Coming off of the “Fast & Furious” franchise, Sung Kang has enough natural charisma that he could actually carry an action film and does well enough playing off of Syl…essentially playing himself. Jason Momoa was OK as the enigmatic bad guy while Sarah Shari thankfully played Syl’s daughter and not his girlfriend. Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje & Christian Slater round out the supporting cast and are fine, however it all still feels incredibly awkward playing out in this bubble.
Picture and sound quality on the Blu-Ray are solid and the only special feature is a brief behind the scenes featurette about the making of the film.
Ultimately, if you can convince yourself that “Bullet In The Head” was actually shot and made in 1985, then it will be an entertaining blast from action movies past…but since it is 2013, it actually feels a like a tired script that has been sitting around for far longer then it probably should have been.
2 out of 5 stars.
“Bullet To The Head” is now available to rent on DVD, Blu-Ray and via On Demand from all major providers. You can also find it for purchase at retailers like amazon.ca, HMV and iTunes.
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