Famed action legend Sylvester Stallone and Sung Kang of the “Fast and Furious” series team up in their latest action flick, “Bullet to the Head”. The film is one of the most mindless action films to come along in years. Adapted from a French graphic novel of the same name, “Bullet to the Head” follows detective Taylor Kwon (Kang) as he teams up with hitman Jimmy Bobo (Stallone) as they seek revenge for the murders of their respective partners.
This film is troublesome from the get-go. The story at first seems like it will be a variation of the traditional ’80s buddy cop movie—it throws two characters on opposite sides of the law together and, for some reason, they actually agree to cooperate—yet it fails in that regard. Instead, the characters constantly undermine and insult each other, most of the dissent caused by Kang’s character.
The direction and cinematography of this film is awful. It plays like a television procedural cop drama and employs many techniques of that genre. The film constantly cuts to flashbacks of events that occur in the film only a few moments before. It feels insulting to the audience.
The writing in this film is among the worst of the films Stallone has appeared in during the last decade. The dialogue is weak and repetitive, while the story itself repeats pointless plot elements and delivers an unsatisfactory payoff. An excellent example of this is Bobo and Kwon’s constant arguing. Their relationship can easily be summed up as one becoming irritated by the other, pointing a gun at him and taking over. It was amusing the first time, but the film repeats it too often.
When the script relaxes and allows the characters time to breath, it can actually be entertaining. Bobo and Kwon occasionally get good banter. Stallone and Kang actually have decent chemistry, but the writing only allows the chemistry to show in a few scenes throughout the film. The action scenes are actually well done. There are several sequences that feel like they are from much better Stallone movies. The film is graphic and lewd and deserves its R rating.
Sylvester Stallone is actually decent in this movie. It is not his best performance, but he is obviously comfortable in this role. Stallone has a great presence onscreen and his natural charisma still bleeds through this mess of a film. This is Stallone in a fun action-hero role, which is what he is famous for. He carries the film. Christian Slater is a deliciously hammy and over-the-top villain. One particular scene between Slater and the protagonists is one of the highlights of the film. Sung Kang does not give a bad performance, but his character is so poorly written that he is the most detrimental aspect of the film.
Sung Kang’s character is incompetent to the point of parody, yet his incompetence is played completely strait. Apart from the fact that he is a police detective who decides to team up with Bobo, a wanted hitman, he spends the entire film trusting the corrupt cops, undermining Bobo and nearly getting Bobo killed. Kwan makes every clichéd action film mistake in the book. His distrust of Bobo even goes so far as to remove the firing pin from Bobo’s gun.
“Bullet to the Head” feels like it is trying to be an overly violent 1980s movie, but instead comes out to be a mess of a film that only has a few entertaining moments. This is a mindless action movie, but no one expects it to be anything more. It is hard to judge this type of film based on its quality and content since it does not attempt to be anything more than a violent action film, and this is all that it is.
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