Monday, August 12, 2013
A 80's style Actioner that would have felt great in the Eighties!
Bullet To The Head (2012) is the new or should I say, the most recent Sylvester Stallone action picture that you might get to see. Based on the graphic novel created by Alexis Nolent and illustrator Colin Wilson called "Du plomb dans la tete", it might have played well in the 80's or even in the mid 90's but now, (in spite of a superstar like Stallone for support) it simply feels dated and uninteresting.
The film stars Stallone as Jimmy Bobo, (it is listed as Jimmy Bonomo on IMDB, but in the film he is called Jimmy Bobo) an enforcer for the mob whose partner is killed while they are in a bar after a hit. Enter Taylor Kwon (Sung Kang from the Fast and The Furious films, most notably) a cop whose partner was killed by the same assassin that took out Bobo's partner. So, in standard 80's style formulaic story telling, the two join forces to avenge their partners deaths.
The main nemesis of our film's heroes is the refrigerator sized Keegan played by Jason Momoa, last seen as Conan in the 2011 remake. Here Keegan is a huge lumbering oaf that kills at the drop of a hat and does so with glee. Momoa is perfectly cast and shows he has charisma as a villain giving Bobo a run for his money. There are some brief moments of fun in this film, but the script only gives Stallone most of the meat to work with and he does have some funny lines.
One surprise is Christian Slater who plays a sleazy mob lawyer and is terrific in this film. He is such a sloppy cad that he almost steals the picture. I would have liked to see more of him as he brings the films energy when he is one screen. The interrogation scene with him strapped to a chair is priceless. Maybe they should have given him a larger part and made him a more integral part of the story.
Bullet To The Head is helmed by ace old school director Walter Hill, who is usually able to craft an action film but gives us interesting characters that we are involved with. He is after all, a protege of the late, great action director Sam Peckinpah who wrote and directed much better films that are the same lines as BTTH. Most notably, 48 Hours which gave birth to a then unknown Eddie Murphy and Red Heat with Arnold Schwarzenegger and James Belushi - a buddy action cop thriller. Needless to say, both of these films are much better than BTTH.
Excluding the action scenes, BTTH is filled with lame silly dialogues and the acting from Sung Kang is pretty thin. He seems to be adopting the same tempered character as in the Fast and the Furious films, consequently, his character comes out pretty hollow. So, the film's strongest point is solely Stallone, who is now in his 60's but looks at least like he is in his early fifties. He can still do action scenes very well and is believable as you can see in this movie.
Anyway, if the film has another positive point besides Stallone, it is Steve Mazzaro's score. He is a newcomer that up until BTTH had only scored a short film called The Seance. Mazzaro has only worked in a supporting role assisting legends like Hans Zimmer and composing music for some video games. Here, Mazzaro has composed a macho, testosterone laden score (produced by Hans Zimmer) that pulsates with metallic guitars and synth percussion that is in keeping with a Stallone film. I was impressed with his score and would recommend it for your consideration especially if you are into action themed scores.
BTTH (although not entirely awful) certainly could have been a lot more interesting. The action mayhem and the script penned by Alessandro Camon does offer fleeting moments of enjoyment but good moments does not a movie make! Unless you are a die hard Stallone fanatic, Bullet To The Head ends up being pretty predictable and you won't likely remember this film as one of Stallone's better ones. Bullet To The Head-** out of 4. JohnnyTwoToes