Bullet to the Head

Review by Adam Woodward @AWLies

Directed by

Walter Hill

Starring

Jason Momoa Sung Kang Sylvester Stallone

Anticipation.

Locked and loaded.

Enjoyment.

Bwah bluh gurh [casual racism] fnuh buh gwugh [huge explosion].

In Retrospect.

Firing blanks.

Slam-bang action icons Walter Hill and Sylvester Stallone buddy up for some muscle-flexing and gunplay.

Hot on the heels of Arnold’s Grand Day Out, Sylvester Stallone gives it his muscular, mumbling best in this shambolic popcorn frenzy from has-been action director Walter Hill.

Though Stallone’s name is given top-billing the real star here is Jason Momoa, brilliant and criminally underused as the granite-jawed thorn in our hero’s side. Looking like a meaner, slightly less wardrobe shy descendant of Khal Drogo, Momoa’s Keegan is an exemplary movie villain – a scowling, hulking shitbag who incurs the wrath of Stallone’s gnarled New Orleans hitman, Jimmy Bobo (yup…), after a dive bar double-crossing leaves his partner toe-tagged.

Based on the comic miniseries ‘Du Plomb Dans La Tete’ by French graphic novelist Matz, Bullet To The Head promises testosterone-charged buddy-movie spills in the vein of Hill’s 48 Hrs. and Red Heat, but delivers bland set pieces and cringeworthy banter between Bobo and Sung Kang’s Korean-American “smartphone cop” Taylor Kwon.

Is Stallone getting more casually racist with age? Or has better scripting allowed him to get away with dropping the occasional xenophobic zinger in the past? Either way, there’s nothing funny about lines like, “Why don’t you go read some tea leaves?” and “Whaddya gonna do, bring out some kung fu from the homeland?” – especially when they’re dribbled out by an antiquated, incomprehensible old sod. Memo to Sly: it’s time to get with the programme and drop the stereotyping schtick.

That small but significant grievance aside, this thuggish man flick has few saving graces. Throw together a needlessly convoluted plot concerning dodgy land dealings and a maniacal African war lord, a fidgety cameo from a wired Christian Slater and a truck-load of paint-by-numbers mercenary heavies, and you’re left with an overseasoned and undercooked slab of action-comedy apple pie.

Published 31 Jan 2013

Anticipation.

Locked and loaded.

Enjoyment.

Bwah bluh gurh [casual racism] fnuh buh gwugh [huge explosion].

In Retrospect.

Firing blanks.

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