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REVIEW: Bullet To The Head (2012) – ManlyMovie

REVIEW: Bullet To The Head (2012)

Run Time: 92 Mins
Rated: R
What To Expect: A movie that is somehow even better now than it was then, really!

For some reason I’ve only watched this film once and was going to review it when it came out and when this site first started as a smaller blog but never got around to it.  I watched it again for the second time last week and as much as I liked this movie when it came out, for reasons I’m not 100% sure of, I fucking love it now.  More than ever.  Maybe more than The Expendables and certainly more than de-facto competitor The Last Stand.  I’m telling you, if you haven’t watched this one in a while or worse, not at all, you must fire it up again ASAP.

To recap, the film sees Jimmy Bobo (Sylvester Stallone) play a hitman who teams up with cop Taylor Kwon (Sung Kang) to go the buddy-cop route to bring down a common enemy.  Among their foes are Christian Slater and Jason Momoa.  But while that’s ostensibly the plot, Walter Hill’s movie is essentially Sylvester Stallone driving around New Orleans murdering, kidnapping and torturing his way to a conclusion of a dilemma.

This movie has a negative reputation across the various ‘meter’ platforms; bad score on IMDb, bad score on RT.  And it was a box office bomb too, which was bad because it was Stallone’s first stand alone test on his comeback outside the ensemble power of The Expendables and sequel/brand power of Rocky and Rambo.  And that was a damn pity, but the trade off is you get a movie that simply gives no fucks.  Gives.  No. Fucks!  Walter Hill’s movie doesn’t care about leotard trends or Xander Cage kitsch… it’s obliviously and happily stuck in 1988.

Jimmy Bobo is a sexist, misogynistic dinosaur, who uses casual racism as a method of hazing and showing acceptance, like it used to be in the old days.  Bobo leaves an improbable trail of bodies laying everywhere, driving around like each latest bloodied corpse is little more than some McDonalds litter he discarded.  The vehicular homicide in particular committed by Stallone early in the film demands a roar of celebration — egregious murder found rarely in a movie this side of 1990.  I can imagine how today’s girlie man critics recoiled in horror as manly bonding and scores being settled with axe fights took precedence over highfalutin nonsense.

Momoa makes a great henchman

Of course there are one or two problems, since few films are perfect.  First, Sung Kang was a poor replacement for the original choice of Thomas Jane.  Kang is such a wooden actor and seems kind of bewildered or uninterested here.  Second, Walter Hill shakes the camera a bit too much in the fight scenes, especially the finale.

But the movie is still amazing, a real anomaly this side of the century.  And since The Expendables series has gone downhill and Schwarzenegger, Willis et al are letting us down, I don’t think we appreciated even then how good this thing is.  I would strongly advise getting drunk and watching this near-classic again.  Soon.  Tonight!