Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Film Review: Bullet to the Head

Copyright: Warner Bros.
If someone created an Action film university, Sylvester Stallone would be a perfect choice for the position of the dean.

In his new film Bullet to the Head Stallone is doing the same thing The Rolling Stones did for decades. He is making art that he knows and loves in a mental place where he feels comfortable. Both may seem like outdated phenomenon. Yet they both understand how the future works. Mick Jagger probably doesn’t plan to invite Skrillex to join his band. Stallone acts the same in this aspect. Few decades after his glory days he is still interested in one thing - action.

The main person behind the camera is also another old Hollywood employee, and his name is Walter Hill. This director is a underappreciated genius that gave the world, in my opinion, one of the best surreal action movies The Warriors way back in 1979. The incredible 81-year-old directed the film that fits Sylvester Stallone like a glove.

In the corrupt New Orleans a botched assassination takes place. Soon after the contract killers become the new targets. That’s why the local criminal Jimmy Bobo (played by Stallone) and Detective Taylor Kwon Korean have to become reluctant partners. Their second task is to figure out what connects the judges, big business and politics in Louisiana.

The runtime of this film is only 90 minutes. Its pace is linear and predictable. Bobo and Kwon start by finding a small bad guy, that leads them to the middle bad guy and so on. Of course, this process culminates in its purest form: single combat or melee, in this case involving fire axes between Jimmy and main villain, who isn’t the obvious suspect, thanks to Hill.

This is the kind of movie Steven Segal and Dolph Lundgren made like crazy. Here the supporting cast includes Christian Slater and Jason Momo (who gives the second best performance in the movie ) and a solid budget.  Action sequences, especially those involving firearms, are short and sharp.

Hill genius is in his ability to precisely measure and mix the exact amount of killing, sleazy Southern atmosphere, police procedural thriller and silly humor which primarily comes from Jimmy Bobo. He is a bitter professional criminal full of muscles and tattoos (judging by this film, as well as The Expendables franchise, Stallone obviously loves fake tattoos) who make fun of modern technology and Kwon’s Asian origins. In other words, a perfect character for Stallone.

Bullet to the Head is a film for those who like old fashion action movies. The film doesn’t make any surprising moves for this genre, and this is its main quality.