Sylvester Stallone is back in Bullet to the Head from Warner Bros. Pictures. Stallone plays Jimmy Bobo, a hitman who reluctantly teams up with a police detective to take out a killer and uncover a conspiracy. Can Stallone prove that he doesn’t need a group of action stars as back up to make a bad ass movie, or is he getting too old for action movies?
Jimmy “Bobo” Bonomo is a hitman with a long criminal past that is contracted with his partner, Louis, to take out select targets from unknown clients. On their latest assignment, they take out an unknown male in his hotel room. To celebrate, Jimmy and Louis go to a local dive bar for a beer and a whiskey. Jimmy excuses himself to use the restroom. In the bar is another killer who sneaks up behind Louis and fatally stabs him several times. The killer then attempts to take out Jimmy in the restroom, but is unsuccessful. Jimmy fights back, but the unknown assailant gets away.
In the meantime, Detective Taylor Kwan from Washington D.C. is in New Orleans following up on a case. His former partner was in town hiding out after leaving the WDCPD disgraced. Kwan finds his partner in the county morgue. He was the man Jimmy took out at the hotel. Also at the morgue is Louis. Detective Kwan puts two and two together an runs their names for common known associates. Jimmy Bobo’s name pops up. Kwan knows that’s the man to talk to in order to get answers.
Kwan arranges a meeting with Jimmy. The two exchange unpleasant words and Kwan leaves. Unaware two males are following him. Kwan runs into a parking garage for his safety, but finds himself cornered. He takes out one would-be assailant, but then gets shot by the other. All of a sudden, Jimmy hits the assassin with his Cadillac rescuing Kwan. The two men are rogue police men trying to stop Kwan from discovering a conspiracy that goes all the way back to Washington D.C. Can an old school hitman and new age detective work together on both sides of the law in order to unravel the mystery and stop Louis’ killer?
Early 2013 must be the year of the return of 80’s action stars. First, Arnold Schwarzenegger returned in an abysmal box office performance in his comeback film, The Last Stand. Now Sylvester Stallone returns to his first non-Expendables role since 2008. So this begs the question, does Stallone still have it? My answer is “Yes, but…”
At nearly 67 years old, Stallone looks fantastic compared to guys his age. He still got the moves and the muscles. But lets face it, Sly is not a spring chicken anymore. His moves are a bit slower and his face definitely shows signs of wear and tear. I do have to hand it to Stallone, though, he still can carry his own on screen. He can fight and shoot, and lets face it, that’s what you want in an action star.
Stallone plays Jimmy Bobo, a man who is no stranger to being arrested. In this part of his life he is content being a no questions asked hitman for hire. He believes in honor and principles, but has no problem taking out men who deserve to die. His only rule: No women and children. I really liked his character. He was soft spoken and carried a big stick. When he did speak, he told it like it was. Bobo doesn’t bullshit people. That’s not his style. I also liked that he didn’t make threats, he made promises. But what made Bobo a great character was that he always looked at the big picture. He was always a step ahead of the game.
Sung Kang plays Det. Taylor Kwan. He’s a new age, high tech cop who in my opinion relies too much on his smart phone that good old fashioned intuition. Now while it’s good to be able to cross reference criminals with the national database, nothing in his character’s actions really portrayed him as a competent lawman. You take away his BlackBerry, he’s nothing. Kang is well known for his role of Han in the Fast and Furious movies. He was somewhat competent in hand to hand combat, but most of his screen time was spent being shot, injured, or beat up. I really think the character was not really likable and dragged down the movie. In my opinion, the film would have been better just having Stallone exacting revenge on his partner’s killer and the men who double crossed him.
The supporting cast is comprised by the usual cast of stereotypical characters Christian Slater is scumbag lawyer, Marcus Baptiste. Jon Seda is Bobo’s partner, Louis Blanchard. Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje is the kingpin mastermind, Morel. The beautiful Sarah Shahi plays Bobo’s tattoo artist/gangster doctor daughter, Lisa. All did an adequate job in their supporting roles, but the real highlight of the film belongs to Jason Momoa as the killer mercenary, Keegan. After Stallone, Momoa stole the show as the film’s bad ass. Momoa is best known for starring as Conan in the 2011 reboot and as Khal Drogo in the television show, Game of Thrones. Stallone has a really cool showdown in the film’s finale as the two battle each other with fireman axes. Momoa really got to showcase hie swordplay skills.
The film is directed by Walter Hill and based upon Alexis Nolent’s French graphic novel Du Plomb Dans La Tete. It somewhat had a feel of a gritty comic book. Being filmed in New Orleans, it showcased the city and had the jazzy soundtrack that gave the film the ambiance of the Big Easy. I am really glad the movie is R-Rated so that Stallone didn’t have to hold back. Bullet to the Head is not a horrible movie, but I didn’t leave wanting to tell my friends to immediately see this movie. I thought Stallone and Momoa were great, but the rest of the cast dragged down the action and the mood. I did enjoy it better than The Last Stand, but not by much. Personally I cant wait until later this year when Stallone and Schwarzenegger team up in the prison escape movie, The Tomb. Until then, may I recommend a different movie that takes place in New Orleans, stars another action star, and is a lot of fun? Check out Hard Target starring Jean-Claude Van Damme and directed by John Woo. If you have Netflix, it’s available on instant stream.
In Theaters: February 1, 2013
Runtime: 1 hour 31 minutes
Rating: R (for strong violence, bloody images, language, some nudity and brief drug use)
Director: Walter Hill
Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Sung Kang, Jason Momoa, Sarah Shahi, Christian Slater
Genre: Action/Adventure, Adaptation, Thriller
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures
Official Site: http://bullettothehead.warnerbros.com