Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Bullet to the Head

How can you say no to a title like that?  "Bullet to the Head"!  BOOM!  HEADSHOT!  In fact, they should have called it "BOOM! Headshot!"  Make that:  "BOOM! Headshot, Motherfucker!"  But "Bullet to the Head" is perfectly fine.  What kind of movie is this?  Oh, the kind of movie where people get shot... in the head.  Do they live?  Probably not.  They got shot... IN THE HEAD.  What part of this is hard to understand?  BANG!  BANG!  DEAD.  ¿Comprende?

"Bullet to the Head" is exactly what the titles tells you its going to be, and not a thing more.  Its not innovative, its not inspiring, its offers no pointed dialog on the nature of modern masculinity in a globalizing mass culture, it doesn't offer any solutions for the deficit, and it offers no practical life advise of any kind.  I imagine women will hate it, old folks will get disturbed by it, teens will want somebody younger in the lead role - probably somebody truly awful like Channing Tatum, young kids might enjoy it but their parents won't let them watch it, but as for you dudes, here you go, "Bullet to the Head".  Its Eighties action schlock, completely by the numbers and without anything new to say about anything.  Even among action schlock, its purely in the middle range, falling in the heap next to thousands of other movies from across time and space, offering little to separate itself from all those others.  And that's why I recommend it.

"The Expendables" has finally sparked off a series of imitations, taking its ancient stars and putting them back into their own movies.  I hated both "Expendables" movies, simply because they weren't very good.  They were directed so poorly that I wondered if Sylvester Stallone could even physically move anymore, and whether or not these actors should have retired around the time of "Demolition Man".  Arnold Schwarzenegger got his chance with "The Last Stand", which I skipped due to it looking terrible but mostly because Johnny Knoxville was there as the annoying sidekick.  Well, that movie bombed, so let's see how "Bullet to the Head" is doing... Oh, it got thrashed by the Superbowl and "Warm Bodies"*.  That's a shame.  Well, there's still "The Tomb", a film where Stallone and Schwarzenegger will team up to kill people, maybe that will sell.  Until then, if you have the time and are hoping for something incredibly but wonderfully stupid, something that will not challenge you, yet something that will not disappoint, there's "Bullet to the Head".

The plot is basic.  Sylvester Stallone is a hitman living in New Orleans... sorry, that's "Crescent City".  For some reason the movie is very insistent that this is taking place in "Crescent City", for some reason.  I don't really understand this, its not like with the Batman universe where they insist that New York City is "Gotham City".  Apparently "Bullet to the Head" is based on a French comic book, which seems unnecessary to me considering how by-the-numbers this movie is.  Anybody on Earth could have written the story as long as they've seen one action movie.  Sylvester Stallone is a hitman in Not-New Orleans and after completing a job, he and his partner are double-crossed, leading to the death of his friend.  Turns out their employer was actually an evil African warlord trying to buy Not-New Orleans' slums to built condos.  He's bribed every person in the city, and to cover his tracks he's hired Jack Momoa (Khal Drogo from "Game of Thrones") to murder every person who might know about this crime.  But for some reason he hired hitmen to kill this one scumbag who was blackmailing him.  Also there's an Asian cop wandering around the city trying to solve the case.

Ultimately it turns into a buddy cop situation where career criminal Sylvester Stallone becomes the mismatched partner to the Asian cop guy.  Asian cop is really by-the-books and uses his Smartphone to learn stuff.  Sylvester Stallone just beats people to death and shoots them in the head.  Unfortunately, you're here for Sylvester Stallone, so when Asian cop guy starts acting like a dick - as he does all movie - Asian cop guy just comes off as pathetic and whiny.  "You know, when this all over, I'm going to have to arrest you."  This is being said to Stallone, after he saved Asian cop guy's life about six billion times.  Asian copy guy even comes off as needy and shallow when he brags about how he could kill Stallone with his stupid ipod thing.  "I could smash your neck in with it!"  Dude, Stallone's neck is as thick as tree truck and probably harder than steel at this point.  The guy has muscles so huge that his veins are basically outside his skin, and he probably could murder most people with a proper punch.  And the Asian cop never stops being a dick, and never stops being annoying.  He comes off as an asshole, complaining the entire movie when Stallone does cool action stuff.

The worst part about Asian cop?  His part was written for Thomas Jane!  Imagine it?  Sylvester Stallone and Thomas Jane together, killing bad guys!  It would have been awesome!  Instead we have Sung Kang, who you might know as the Asian guy from "The Fast and The Furious" movies.  He's terrible in those too, but he's really bad in this movie.  It wasn't a well-written character, but Sung Kang just brings a level of obnoxious entitlement to the role.  Throughout the whole movie I was begging Sylvester Stallone to just murder this guy.  Bullet to the head.  Problem solved.

However, Asian prick notwithstanding, the rest of the movie is good.  Khal Drogo makes for an excellent and impressive enforcer villain.  He's got this arrogance about him that makes you very excited for the moment when somebody finally puts a bullet in this guy's head.  Jake Momoa seems like he was born to play the Heavy in various action films, I don't think he's got the personality to carry a movie by himself, this is why the new "Conan the Barbarian" was effectively unwatchable.  Still he was a strong and believably villain.  The action scenes are mostly good, nothing fantastic until the final duel between Stallone and Drogo.  There's even a decent role played by Christian Staler, who plays a corrupt lawyer working for the evil African guy.

There isn't that much to say about "Bullet to the Head" because there really isn't much going on in this movie.  Its action schlock of the most basic caliber.  Besides the horrible Asian guy, everything here works and is pure uncompromising fun.  I recommend this to all people who miss the days of "Cobra", "Tango and Cash", and "Rambo".  Its not greatly made, they overused the CG, but it scratches the itch.  And a week later, you won't even remember having seen it, but for that brief moment, it will be enjoyable and your life will be better because of "Bullet to the Head".

* I'm aware that "Warm Bodies" is probably the biggest movie to come out this week, but... I don't want to see it.  I just don't.  The trailers made me hopeful, but I got this sense that the movie could be really bad and really cheesey in all the wrong ways.  And from what I've heard, it is just like that.  I was hoping for something with "Zombieland"'s humor, but where really really dark stuff happened.  I guess most teenagers who went to see that don't really how gross that movie is, your attractive male lead is a rotting corpse, remember that?  This isn't "Twilight" its "Nekromantik".  She's fucking a corpse!  This should have been a very hard R Indie black horror comedy, and I mean black.  Just imagine it, they're making out, and the dude's tongue falls into her mouth - it gets worse from there.  And instead of the zombies getting magically cured by the power of love, they should have joined each other by having her turn into a zombie.  Why do we have to impose our own Living Person judgments onto a necrophilic relationship?

1 comment:

  1. I thought that the new Conan the Barbarian was alright...