What movie was that...?

13 February 2013

Bullet to the Head

directed by Walter Hill

Of course I shelled out hard earned bread to see this movie. Just wanted to go on record with that...

This resurgence of throwback style vehicles for aging action stars has seen its ups and downs over the past half decade, beginning with such enjoyable schlock as The Expendables, even presaged by such ludicrous sequels as Rambo. The charm (if you can call it that) of these films is the wink at the camera awareness that brings you in on the joke. The Expendables is exactly as bad as you think it will be, which is precisely what makes it so awesome. Add a talented piss and vinegared director who also gets the joke to the mix, and you should end up with a thoroughly delicious cinematic jambalaya. Following that line, I was prepared for Walter Hill’s Bullet to the Head to be a delightful shit show, but even with my expectations in the sub-basement I was surprised at how inept I found the storytelling. Sylvester Stallone seems to be the grand architect behind said filmic resurgence (as he is featured in nearly all of these movies), from Rambo to The Expendables (and even the credibly sincere Rocky Balboa), but as he mumbles his way through the back alleys and seedy corners of Louisiana, I found myself surprised that Sly’s trademark mushmouthed garble wasn’t the least intelligible element of this disaster. Sun Kang’s Detective Taylor Kwon character could have just as effectively been played by a Speak & Spell duct taped to a rolling chair, and Walter Hill’s whiskey breathed brawler style of direction falls flat throughout much of the film, unless a scene involves a bullet entering someone’s skull (which happens often). I will give a boat load of credit to Jason Momoa for refusing to allow any semblance of faux seriousness to penetrate his crazed warrior super muscle character, Keegan. Momoa and Christian Slater seemed to be the only 2 who got the memo about what exactly Bullet to the Head was supposed to be, and I expected a hell of a lot more from screenwriter Alessandro Camon (who co-wrote the spectacular film The Messenger). If watching potato skinned old action relics ply their trade on screen is your thing, you would do much better to check out the newest Schwarzenegger movie, The Last Stand (directed by Jee-woo Kim). But in all seriousness, if you want to see an actual good version of a film like this (a former action star trying like hell to avoid fading away), pretty please go watch JCVD, starring the Muscles from Brussels as himself. A fantastic film, that.

2 comments:

  1. Funnily enough I actually watched Walter Hill's "The Long Riders" last night, and it kinda' saddens me that the man who brought us "Hard Times" and "The Warriors" is associated with a film such as this.

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  2. It is a shame. I was hoping it would be fun in an ironic and nostalgic way, but it just didn't pan out. If over the top action is your bag, I would also recommend Shoot 'Em Up, another movie that's strength comes from its awareness of the genre it is subverting.

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