I first saw the trailer for Bullet to the Head last summer in opening weekend of The Expendables 2. At the end of that day, I was more impressed with the trailer for Bullet than I was with the actual movie I had seen that day. But we’ll talk about that another time.
The point is: Bullet to the Head has an awesome trailer.
And if you haven’t heard the song Badass by Saliva, you can check it out here.
Unfortunately, that’s all I can really recommend to you.
Bullet to the Head is Walter Hill’s film adaptation of Alexis Nolent’s graphic novel “Du Plomb Dans La Tete”, which translates to “Lead in the Head”. The story takes place in Washington D.C. (although I had to go on Wikipedia to find that out because there’s no overhead cinematography shot to actually show where this movie is taking place) and stars Jimmy Bobo (Stallone), a really old assassin inexplicably still alive and kicking. After completing a hit job, his partner is killed by the same people who hired him and who now want him dead. Teaming up with an amateur detective (Sung Kang) assigned to the murder case, the two of them work their way up the conspiracy ladder, leading Sly come face to face with the paramilitary assassin Keegan (Jason Momoa) who killed his partner.
This sounds fun, right? Classic homage to the 80s action genre with a bounty hunter looking for revenge against a ruthless mercenary and a cop willing to disregard the rules in order to bring the bad guys down?
Well, that’s not what this movie is.
The worst thing about Bullet is that it brings itself down. It wastes time with the drag between the fight scenes, seamlessly spent trying to make this movie look like Broken City but with Sly. Even worse, the action scenes themselves are incredibly underwhelming. Stallone still looks and moves great for a 66 year old man, and it’s nice to see Jason Momoa again (you know him as Khal Drogo from Game of Thrones) but there’s nothing in this movie that sticks. The action is over before you blink. The camera shakes a lot. And some parts exist only to be advertised in the trailer.
The big axe duel advertised in the trailer is at most a three minute fight and is even more underwhelming than the Batman-Bane showdown in The Dark Knight Rises.
When is Hollywood going to realize that realism is just not an appropriate kind of theme upon which to base your action unless you’re going for a serious soul-searching and emotionally charged drama like War Horse? When you make a 90 minute movie with one of the biggest and most well-renowned action stars in history, and advertise it as a macho action revenge movie, is it really too much to expect…oh, I don’t know…some bloody action?
Before I wrap this up, I should mention that Bullet to the Head is by no means a bad movie. It’s at least nice that the film doesn’t take itself too seriously. There’s a little bit of fun banter here and there with your usual Sly making fun of Asians and Kang just rolling his eyes. And the film at least lives up to its title by showing lots of people get shot in the head (even if the bad guy did most of it).
But somewhere over the past couple decades, Hollywood forgot what made action blockbusters fun.