Saturday, February 16, 2013

Bullet to the Head - and a couple through the centre of mass

I find it unlikely that Sylvester Stallone has had either an elocution lesson or a speech-therapy session in his life, and if he has, then I dread to think what he sounded like before. His indistinct sometimes incomprehensible slurred speech during Bullet to the Head is more pronounced by the fact that HE'S THE NARRATOR! It's difficult enough when you can SEE him talking but when he's a disembodied voice... ...well good luck to you. Stallone is 65 years old. You get free public transportation for that milestone here and Medicare where Stallone is. It was a little noticeable in Rambo IV alright, not so much in The Expendables or its recent sequel because there are so many other screen-gods present but when you see the big man in this movie you just have to admit, and he probably should too, that he's just too fucking old for this shit!

Bullet to the Head pairs Stallone playing aging New Orleans hit man Jimmy Bobo with Det. Taylor Kwon (Sung Kang of the Fast and the Furious franchise) a D.C. dickhead cop out of his jurisdiction. Now this is supposed to be the movie's main hook. Director Walter Hill has come out of a 10 year exile to deliver a formula for which he has had pretty memorable success - he previously paired Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte in 48 Hours as well as James Belushi and Arnold Schwarzenegger in Red Heat. However his winning formula has diluted somewhat since he last used it and it's some very weak sauce now.

The "banter" between hi-tech goody-two-shoes nerd Kwon and grizzled old anti-social hit man Bobo is some of the most forced camaraderie I've ever witnessed, it does not work and in fact fails spectacularly. To be honest with Stallone, you know what you're getting. It's not his fault, it's not like you have a muscled version of Alan Rickman delivering dialog as if nominated for an Oscar, it's just Stallone and his angry/sad/happy expressions are distinguishable only by the length of his side lip droop at the time. Kang however is irredeemably shit. Kwon is the absolute worst movie cop in the history of useless movie cops. He's an uncharismatic dickead devoid of any charm or likability and you know that if he was the recipient of the movie's title early on, you'd not shed a tear.

Sadly, the protagonists are paired for the whole movie, one seeking to solve a case and bring perpetrators to justice, the other wants to exact revenge for being set up and having his partner killed. This leads them down a woefully pathetic and flimsy plot path [it's an adaptation of a french graphic novel, go figure] to Morel, a dime-store villain, land developer (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) whose dealings are being covered up by snivelling lawyer Baptiste [Christian "Hey everyone! I'm back doing movies" Slater] and guarded by 6' 4" of blunt force trauma in the form South African mercenary Keegan [Jason Conan The Barbarian Momoa]. It's actually Momoa who steals the show when he's on screen regardless of whoever else is there and his final showdown with Stallone is unique in so far as they throw down their guns in favour of an impressive melee with large fireman's axes.

Final Verdict: Fuck-it, this is complete and utter shit but I thoroughly enjoyed this very aptly titled movie.

Colonel Creedon Rating: ***1/2

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