Bullet to the Head feels a little like an eighties buddy action movie. Between Sylvester Stallone in the lead and Walter Hill directing, it should feel more like one. But Stallone plays this one mature. He might not be playing his actual age (probably sixty-five at the time of filming), but he’s definitely supposed to be older. The film has Stallone narrating like it’s a noir–it’s not–and nicely uses pictures of him at younger ages as various mug shots.
Sarah Shahi plays his adult daughter, so there’s that maturity again. The relationship between Stallone and Shahi, mostly one or two of their scenes, is Bullet at its most sublime.
Where the film goes off the rails is Hill. The direction feels like generic modern action. Sure, the New Orleans locations give the picture some personality, but not enough to compensate for the lack of directorial presence.
While it resembles the buddy action movie genre, Bullet doesn’t actually belong. Stallone’s a hit man, his sidekick’s a moronic cop (played by Sung Kang). Kang’s bland but not unlikable; Stallone’s so mean it earns Kang sympathy. Stallone’s more likable because Kang’s an idiot.
And then there’s the jokes. The best writing in Bullet are Stallone’s Asian jokes. The one liners are leagues more inventive than anything else in the film.
As far as the supporting performances… Jason Momoa and Jon Seda stand out. Shahi’s undercooked.
Bullet’s fast, loud and not terrible. It could be better, but doesn’t need to be.
Directed by Walter Hill; screenplay by Alessandro Camon, based on the comic book by Matz and Colin Wilson; director of photography, Lloyd Ahern II; edited by Timothy Alverson; music by Steve Mazzaro; production designer, Toby Corbett; produced by Alfred Gough, Miles Millar, Alexandra Milchan and Kevin King Templeton; released by Warner Bros.
Starring Sylvester Stallone (James Bonomo), Sung Kang (Taylor Kwon), Sarah Shahi (Lisa Bonomo), Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Robert Nkomo Morel), Jason Momoa (Keegan), Jon Seda (Louis Blanchard), Holt McCallany (Hank Greely), Dane Rhodes (Lt. Lebreton), Marcus Lyle Brown (Detective Towne), Brian Van Holt (Ronnie Earl) and Christian Slater (Marcus Baptiste).