Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Bullet to the Head

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! I used to be an adventurer like you...until I took a bullet to the head.



Bullet to the Head – 2 out of 5

Bullet to the Head is a title to a film that every syndicated newspaper movie critic has wet dreams over…the fact it wasn’t pre-screened for critics didn’t help things either (it only made their snark boner harder). With a title like that, a snobbish critic can just say, “The title is merely stating what you’ll be desiring after sitting through this misfired action film,” before they run off and celebrate like they created the wittiest piece of writing in the world and continue to make the world a terrible place. I’m not saying I enjoyed Bullet to the Head, I just don’t think it’s as bad as the stupid puns that can easily be crafted from it.

Sly Stallone is a hitman with a ridiculous sounding name (his character’s name is James "Jimmy Bobo" Bonomo—sounds like a subspecies of monkey) that teams with a cop to take down some mutual enemies. Bullets fly, Stallone spits out some one liners, Christian Slater is in it proving he didn’t die or join a cult and Stallone’s face looks even more melted than usual.


"Can we turn the heat down?  My eyelids are getting to the point they can be
drizzled nicely over tortilla chips."


As far as action films are concerned, Bullet to the Head isn’t really that special. The action is quick, brutal and often gory but it lacked a certain magic that would make any of the sequences memorable. It’s like the story in that aspect; it’s there and doing its job up to the most minimum of standards but really isn’t going above and beyond to the point it’s something worthy of taking note. At least it’s stronger than the acting…

Sung Kang plays the cop that teams with our hero Mr. Freaky Biceps. You might know him better from the chip eating drifter in the Fast and Furious films that died in the third film but, thanks to prequels, was able to appear in some more films only to die all over again in a post-credit sequence. He was actually one of my favorite side characters in the racing films—however, there’s not really much quality to choose from with the side characters in those films; you can pick from the unfunny comedic relief, the loud unfunny comedic relief or Tyrese (It's a trick--all those options were Tyrese!). Point being, I really enjoyed him in those films; he had a quiet cool about him that made him interesting. This film, however, he’s more of a tech-savvy cop who embraces the new ways of getting things done and is all about doing things by the book (in his case, it’s probably an eBook). The problem arises with the fact that he is painfully unconvincing in this role. His delivery of lines feels awkward and stilted and he just doesn’t come off like he’s a real cop who is quickly finding himself in a giant pool of shit. Granted he gets better but never to the point I had seen him before in the past.

"Does this movie need any drifting added to it?  I have some experience in that
arena."


Kang is nowhere near as unimaginative as the villains this film has though. Most of the baddies in this one are just henchmen who have no character beyond a stupid nickname but since this is just meant to be a balls-to-the-wall action film filled with brain matter-stained bullets flying through the air, I forgave this. Just so long as it had an interesting top dawg boss baddie. Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Mr. Eko from Lost) plays the Big Boss Man (not the wrestler, just the lead bad guy) and I enjoy Akinnuoye-Agbaje as an actor so I thought the movie can deliver in this aspect. However, just like the script did little with the henchmen, it did barely anything more with the man who was in charge. There was no spark, no life or really any threat level to the character and, in turn, really didn’t make for a exciting final act where the good and bad guys come head to head. 


Suddenly Lost's downward spiral it took no longer looks like a low point in his career.


And then you have Christian Slater still trying to impersonate Jack Nicholson. Honestly, he was completely worthless in this film. I’m not saying he was terrible in his performance. I’m saying that he was more than a little superfluous in his role. Slater brought nothing memorable to his character and felt more like his inclusion in the film was some inside joke about how he no longer has a career or like the movie suddenly became an episode of I Love the 90s on VH1.


Seriously, Slater's presence in this movie is just an elaborate prank, isn't it?


All this, however, pales in comparison to how truly awful Sylvester Stallone was. There was a time when Stallone being a legitimate movie hero had seemed to have passed but when he came back as Rambo in 2008…I laughed—of course I did because I thought his era as a badass was over thanks to time and the human aging process. I was forced to eat my words after I saw the film because it was a great bloody action film that really delivered the fun and entertainment. Sadly, I regurgitated the words when I saw The Expendables and lost all respect for the man after watching him, with his arthritic knees, run down a pier to catch a plane and, through the magic of editing, was able to somehow teleport to the end of the pier and successfully make it despite the fact it was clear his body was on the verge of falling apart. Yes, this was the moment I realize that Stallone was well beyond his expiration date—and this is the man who had two—not one but two—movies that featured Rob Schneider as comedic relief and made a movie about arm wrestling without a hint of irony.


How did the tattoo needles get through that leather he
calls skin?
 The Expendables showed me that Stallone is no longer a legitimate action star due to the fact its clear his body is coming undone thanks to years of punishment. Unlike the embarrassing pier scene in that film, Bullet to the Head doesn’t contain anything that overtly shows how passed his prime Stallone really is…unless you count having to see his stretched tan, leathery hide during a fight scene in a bathhouse. Instead, we see Stallone barely able to spit out poorly written one-liners and look like he would rather be anywhere else but the scene he’s in—but that might have to do with the fact his face looks like it’s melting off his skull. The Expendables showed me that after years of punishment, he physically is incapable of being realistic as a badass hero anymore but Bullet to the Head showed me that he just doesn’t have the spirit for it either as his performance is probably his worse since Judge Dredd.


Stallone silently expresses his disappointment that Schneider wasn't in this one.


Bullet to the Head can satisfy a need for violence (and guns that are clearly compensating for items below the belt line) but only in the sense that a single cracker can satisfy a starving man—eventually you’re going to want something more and something better. While this movie is loaded with problems like a weak story, a poorly developed script, bad acting and, for some mysterious reason, a need to bring Christian Slater back to the silver screen, the movie is just a passable action film. The brutal violence is enough that it warranted a single viewing on my part but I don’t think I’ll ever watch it again.

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