Bullet to the Head (2013)

Bullet to the Head is a throwback to the ‘buddy-cop’ action thrillers of the 1980s that leaves you yearning for the real thing.

Bullet To The Head marks the return to the big screen of director Walter Hill. Not only that but this film contains all the hallmarks of a sub genre that Hill pioneered to great success in the early 1980s – the ‘buddy cop’ movie. So does Bullet To The Head come close to the charm of 48 Hours? In short, no it doesn’t.

What is key to these films working is a palpable sense of chemistry between the two leads. Unfortunately this is distinctly lacking between Sylvester Stallone and co-star Taylor Kwung. The scenes of banter between the two whilst in a car, a staple so synonymous with this genre, are present here but are frankly just not very funny. The comedic spark isn’t there, Stallone spouts borderline racist material and Kwung retorts with jokes about smart phones and that’s about as good it gets.

The other problem with the film is the tone of the piece. There is more than one occasion when the audience aren’t sure if they are meant to be laughing. A perfect example of this is the masquerade ball, whilst Bobo’s (Stallone) mask is obviously meant to be amusing, the length of the scene just turns this into farce and the less said about Keegen (Jason Momoa)’s mask, the better.

Story-wise it’s pretty forgettable stuff, having only seen it last night this reviewer can already claim to be struggling to recall its finer points. The romance that is clumsily thrown in just isn’t convincing, the couple involved get around three minutes screen time together and, whilst love at first sight is an endearing, concept it doesn’t fit here.

It’s not all bad news though, as with the director’s earlier work the soundtrack is great and really evokes the Louisiana setting of the film. Also his use of cutaways further drive home the mise-en-scène, occasionally giving the film a nostalgic feel that harks back to the 80s, which can never be a bad thing.

The action scenes aren’t too bad either. The fights scenes are particularly visceral, even if there is little doubt in your mind that Momoa’s mercenary would be more than a match for Stallone’s aging hit man. Momoa’s brute force is one of the film’s highlights and kudos should be given to Stallone that he can still almost match the man in terms of sheer physicality.

Overall it’s not utterly dreadful (as the trailer may have suggested) but it is a sad day when a director as talented as Walter Hill makes a film as forgettable as Bullet To The Head.

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