Movie Review: Bullet To The Head
Bullet to the Head is a Sylvester Stallone action movie based on the French graphic novel Du Plomb Dans La Tete. The movie tells the story of hit man "Jimmy BoBo" and wacky mismatched cop partner Taylor Kwon on their quest to bring down African crime lord "Morel" and avenge Jimmy's partner.
Bullet to the Head is pretty much exactly what it is and doesn't really make any excuses. The movie starts with Sly and his partner on a job, with Sly's rumbly, cigar and testosterone fueled voice thundering out a narration. You learn the back story and get to watch him work, see his relationship with his partner and how well they get along.
This bit is important because Sly botches the job by not killing a witness in a room because - I guess - the witness reminds him of his daughter. This is really explained too well.
My problem with the movie
In fact, this is my main problem with the movie: Nothing is explained too well. There are one or two things we have clarification on but only because the actors literally break the fourth wall for our sake. Shortly after this scene we are introduced to Sly's main thread when his partner is violently murdered. Sly states right in the beginning after his partner dies that he never gets sentimental for this exact reason - partners die and the kid knew what he was getting in to. And yet he spends the rest of the movie trying to avenge the guy. He's also incredibly touchy about his daughter, and completely nonchalant about her at the same time.
We cut from this to a scene with our main bad guys - Keegan & Morel (Christian Slater and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, respectively). Keegan, the hit man who took out Sly's partner, is very upset about something and needs to know "the plan", at which point Morel fills him in with a point-by-point synopsis of the plot. "Well I was a drug lord in Africa, and I fled a step ahead of conviction, and then came here to Crescent City (New Orleans) and began buying up bad property, building it, and flipping it. I made a lot of money and used that money to influence congressmen in illegal ways, and now the varied and ubiquitous 'they' want to bring me down." Its a simple plot that somehow has a lot of holes.
How can a movie this simple have so many problems?
Morel is worried about the unbought, non-corrupt cops getting in his way and taking him down with the evidence that links him to buying off senators. Unfortunately, (or fortunately, depending on your view) Taylor Kwon is literally the only cop in the entire movie that isn't on Morel's payroll - and being as he's from DC and on "vacation", he has no jurisdiction in 'Crescent City'. So why is Morel so worried?
I'm sure these questions would have been cleared up if the acting were better and the movie were a bit longer. As it stands, it had a 91 minute run time, and at least 140 minutes worth plot. As it was, the movie was incredibly fast paced. Scenes were breezed through as if they were on a time constraint and couldn't afford to move any slower.
Plot elements and characters were introduced and then just left. The prostitute we see Sly spare in the beginning of the movie is never heard from again, ever. We see her in the police station when Taylor Kwon shows up to introduce himself to the local Lt., and she's giving testimony against Jimmy Bobo, but then we never hear or see her again. She is set up to be a major plot device and then just left.
Major plot points are breezed over - like why Jimmy's character would spare the prostitute, his relationship to his daughter, his relationship with his partner - these are things that could have added depth to the plot and given us a better look into the characters we're watching. Instead they're briefly discussed in a matter of fact way for your benefit and then forgotten about so we can watch some explosions and see some nudity - which there was plenty of! We all know what kind of movie this is based on the title. I, frankly, expected a lot more gore than there was - though there was a good bit of blood. The movie also wasn't the most well acted in the world, with people appearing to break character, and quite a few lines getting noticably fumbled.
Sly's character was the worst because he seemed to living in a constant state of rage, going off on Kwon for little to no reason at all. In one scene, Kwon asks a stupid question so Jimmy replies with a sarcastic remark. Kwon, jokingly, says "Oh screw you." at which point Jimmy literally flips out. He starts screaming, hitting things, yelling, stomping around, cursing - it was completely unexpected. Let's not even get started on the bath house scene that's featured in the movie just so Stallone can have a scene without a shirt on.
Watch The Trailer
Conclusion: Its worth a watch if you're sick and its on cable, I guess.
All in all, if you don't think and don't expect too much, Bullet to the Head is a solid hour and half of action and violence and not much else. They give you enough of a plot to make you feel justified in watching it, but you're pretty much only going to watch this movie for boobs and guys getting shot in the face. Its not an instant classic and I'm not surprised that it's only recovered 1/11th of its estimated budget, but I enjoyed it for the most part.
What did you think?
Have you seen Bullet To The Head? What did you think of it?
Some Interesting Trivia I learned While Researching
- When in the car on the way to the party in search of Baptiste, one of the pictures on the phone are of Sylvester Stallone as John Rambo in First Blood!
- The snap shots of Jimmy Bobo are photos of a young Sly Stallone!
- It wasn't screened in advance to critics, which doesn't surprise me.
- Sylvester Stallone's worst opening weekend. Also not very surprising.
- The film's working title was much better: "Headshot"
Rent Bullet To The Head Here
If you need something to do and have $3 extra dollars, it is worth it.
© 2016 Remy Sheppard