Monday, July 29, 2013
Movie Review: “Bullet to the Head”
I am an ardent fan of the cinematic arts. Although I have certain genre preferences, I don’t let that stifle my curiosity and close myself to different flavors of entertainment. That said...I am a huge fan of science fiction, super hero and action movies! Please visit my other blog The Boxed Office for reviews, exclusively, on these types of movies.
Sylvester Stallone is a movie icon. One of the most recognizable names in film, he often delivers exactly what you expect him to after all the years of watching him. As he gets older, he does a little less physically (not too much less though) and seems to put a bit more into his characterizations. In this film, it was easy. All he had to do was lay back, be cool...and deliver a cold line every now and then. Sung Kang surprised me...I thought he would be better after seeing him in the Fast and Furious films. I was annoyed by what looked to be a half-hearted effort to the role, which just ended up making Sly look even better.
James Bonomo (Stallone) is a gun for hire in the city of New Orleans. He and his partner have done many jobs together and have never had a problem...until now. After their last job, instead of collecting their fee, they are targeted for extermination. While his partner is sent on his way into the afterlife, Bonomo survives the attempt, and is bent on revenge on the ones that have crossed him. The problem is he doesn’t know who hired them...and has no way to find them.
Taylor Kwon (Kang) is a Washington DC detective investigating the murder of his ex-partner as part of an ongoing case of corruption in his own department. As it happens, his ex-partner was the latest assignment of Bonomo. Putting all the pieces together he approaches Bonomo with an offer of cooperation to find those ultimately responsible for his ex-partners death...the same people that are responsible for crossing Bonomo.
A partnership made in hell is formed, and with Kang’s technology and connections, and Bonomo’s brutality and area knowledge, what follows is a blood soaked manhunt through New Orleans that can only end with...a bullet to the head.
The beginning of the film is reminiscent of Pulp Fiction as Stallone and his partner look like they come from the same pool of hitmen as Jackson and Travolta. It is established very quickly that there is a point to the title as their mark recovers (go figure) from two to the chest...and must ultimately be put down by one to the head.
Stallone establishes his character early as being a hitman doesn’t take much range, especially if you’ve been desensitized to the life. Speaking of which, it was kinda cool to be treated to a version of “Stallone through the years” in the opening in the form of mug shots from when he was a teen...until present day. Kang, on the other hand, never once came off as convincing and always seemed as though he was an actor, pretending to be an actor, that was pretending to be a cop, instead of selling me at really being a cop. I mean...it’s really bad when you look like an actor pretending to be an actor.
There was no over-the-top action, which was good, and instead was more gritty realistic action that helped sell the film. Keegan (Jason Momoa), the enforcer for the bad guy, was better in his small part here than all of Conan! The entire film sets up for a showdown between him and Stallone (as if that was a surprise), and it’s actually a pretty good match.
This film had some great parts to it, but didn’t have me emotionally vested in any way that was good. I wasn’t glued to my seat waiting to see what happens next...indeed, I spent most of the time annoyed at the terrible performance of Kang. The saving grace of the film were the gratuitous number of head shots, and a well deserved gut shot delivered by Stallone that I took as meant for Kang’s character...as much as Kang himself. When I weighed all of this, the film could only lock and load 2.5 cinnamon sticks, out of 5, in my cup of tea.