Bullet To The Head (15)

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Review byMatthew Turner01/02/2013

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 91 mins

Stallone can still just about cut it in the action and wisecracks department, but for the most part this is a tedious, badly written, poorly paced and borderline incoherent thriller that should probably have gone straight to DVD.

What's it all about?
Directed by thriller veteran Walter Hill (The Driver, The Warriors, 48 Hrs), Bullet to the Head is based on a French graphic novel (Du Plomb Dans La Tete, French graphic novel fans) and stars Sylvester Stallone as hilariously-named New Orleans hitman Jimmy Bobo, whose partner (Jon Seda) is killed after their latest job sees them double-crossed by the mob.

Seeking revenge, Bobo teams up with Korean-American Washington cop Detective Kwon (Sang Kung) and the pair uncover a conspiracy involving a West African crime boss (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) and, um, a lucrative real-estate deal brokered by shady estate agent Christian Slater (as Marcus Baptiste) or something.

The Good
Like Schwarzenegger in last week's The Last Stand (a Schwarzenegger movie and a Stallone movie in consecutive weeks? What is this, the 1980s?), Stallone (66) proves that he can still deliver punches and wisecracks with the best of them, but there's very little else on display here, despite the initially promising presence of veteran director Walter Hill (71). Aside from Sly, the film's main asset is Jason Momoa (Conan) as vicious hitman Keegan, who provides a suitably hefty ass-kicking presence throughout and is on hand for a climactic, axe-based Keegan vs Bobo showdown in the final reel (the film's only real high-point).

The Bad
The film's biggest problem is that it's indistinguishable from any number of direct-to-DVD actioners, with a ridiculously thin plot that would shame even Steven Seagal. In fact, the script cares so little about the plot that it's content to dispatch all the main villains early on, clearing the way for the Bobo vs Keegan (yep, still unintentionally hilarious) final punch-up.

On top of that, the dialogue is a frequently disastrous mash-up of buddy-buddy bantering (which skirts dangerously close to racism at times) and hard-boiled nonsense (Bobo's world-weary voiceover), while the pacing slows to a painful crawl in the middle section. In addition, there's zero chemistry between either Stallone and Kang or Kang and token love interest Sarah Shahi (playing Stallone's daughter, just in case the audience wonders why she doesn't go for Bobo).

Worth seeing?
Despite the presence of a still spry Sly, Bullet to the Head is something of a disappointment, thanks to a poorly written script and sluggish direction. If it's an ageing action-hero comeback you want, stick with The Last Stand.

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Content updated: 17/07/2018 06:42

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