“Bullet to the Head” doesn’t contain an original bone in its body. It does, however, attempt to break every bone introduced, which will appease less discerning action fans. For everyone else, Stallone’s latest film offers a few meager moments of hard-hitting adventure overshadowed by dialogue that goes to great lengths to imitate the witty banter from “Rush Hour” or even director Walter Hill’s own “48 Hours”. These blips on the radar disappear in the overly vicious tone and might have retained some memorability had more engaging protagonists uttered them. A wasted setting, ceaseless action movie clichés, and an unbearably tedious plot don’t help either.
After being set up by his employers on his latest mission, mercenary-for-hire James Bonomo (Sylvester Stallone) finds his partner murdered and himself being hunted by a monstrous assassin (Jason Momoa). When Bonomo is tracked down by an investigating detective from Washington, D.C. named Taylor Kwon (Sung Kang), the two form an unlikely partnership to take down those responsible. Slowly working their way to the top of an intricate conspiracy, the duo dispenses an unorthodox brand of justice to the corrupted – until the bulky assassin kidnaps James’ daughter Lisa (Sarah Shahi), forcing them to bring the fight directly to the mastermind behind the cover-up.
Old Stallone proves that he’s just as entertaining as old Schwarzenegger, with a movie released just two weeks after “The Last Stand.” Unfortunately, “Bullet to the Head” is equally unimpressive, and the aforementioned entertainment value is pitifully low. It seems that Stallone’s one trick pony method of acting and filmmaking has run its course, exhausting every generic element of an action movie imaginable, all in the course of a mere ninety minutes. It hardly matters that the film is based on a French graphic novel, or that Walter Hill, the director of such films as “The Warriors” and “Southern Comfort,” had a part in the project – it’s impossible to get past Stallone’s predictably stagnantly written, stiffly moving, rigidly poised role with grunted and grumbled monotonic dialogue. He’s watchable for longtime fans, but there’s nothing else to fall back on when his routine grows wearisome.
This is in large part thanks to dopey sidekick Sung Kang, who was scripted to be the most pathetic, inept, inexperienced tenderfoot cop ever to accompany an unwieldy lawless vigilante. He has no skills whatsoever: he’s not particularly intelligent or adroit; he doesn’t possess any martial arts abilities or marksmanship; he’s unrealistically naïve; and he’s not even a decent sleuth. Jurisdictional red tape, including a weapon carrying permit and disdain from local law enforcement, barely has an effect due to this detective’s greenness. At least it makes Bonomo appear to be more of a ruthless (yet brittle) juggernaut, single-handedly contending with double crosses, a permanently scowling axe-wielding mercenary, Turkish bathhouse fighting arenas, corrupt officials, trashy women, a pointless voiceover narration, and the astonishing lack of creativity with the plot.
- The Massie Twins (GoneWithTheTwins.com)