• Bullet To The Head

    Released by: Warner Brothers
    Released on: July 16, 2013.
    Director: Walter Hill
    Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Sung Kang, Christian Slater, Jason Momoa, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje
    Year: 2013
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Movie:

    Until a few years ago, I wanted nothing to do with action movies. I missed out on all the 80s classics I could’ve experienced the first time around, when a lot of people my age, had. But I just wasn’t into it. Flash forward to about five years ago, when I started being introduced to a lot of the action stars and action flicks that were popular then and now. I think it all started with Rambo… I must’ve watched it like four times over the course of a year. I was hooked on Stallone from then on, through the good and the bad of his career. It’s always more exciting to see the films of your favorites on the big screen, especially when they’re action films as everything’s bigger, louder and more impressive, but sadly, seeing Bullet to the Head in the theatre didn’t happen for me, despite being totally psyched for the TV commercials I’d seen.

    Bullet to the Head stars Sylvester Stallone as long-time New Orleans hitman, James Bonomo. Bonomo, along with his partner Louis Blanchard, arrive at a hotel to carry out a hit on involved-in-drugs local bad guy, Hank Greely, who’s shacked up there for the night with a hooker. Greely is taken out, but, for some reason, Bonomo lets the hooker live. Following the hit, the two men head to a bar where Blanchard is offed by a big dude named Keegan, played by Conan the Barbarian’s Jason Momoa, out for vengeance on behalf of Greeley, but Bonomo, naturally, makes it out alive. Out-of-town detective, Taylor Kwon, played by Sung Kang, is on Greely’s case as he was apparently an ex-cop and Kwon’s partner. Kwon makes the connection between the Greely death and the Blanchard death and eventually gets turned on to Bonomo. The local PD seems unhappy with his involvement on their turf and take his gun from him, as he doesn’t “have a local permit”. He continues with his investigation anyway and contacts Bonomo and the two meet at a local dive bar. Bonomo tells him nothing and Kwon leaves his card with him. As Kwon exits the bar during a chaotic parade, he is followed and chased by two unknown men. He manages to shoot one and, looking at his wallet, sees that he is a cop. Just when the second of the two men shows up and shoots Kwon, Bonomo arrives to save his life. He brings him to his daughter, Lisa, to patch up, a local tattoo artist with “a year of medical school.” As both Bonomo and Kwon are looking to avenge the deaths of their separate partners, the two reluctantly team up to find out who the link is behind it all. Also part of the cast are Christian Slater, as local bigwig lawyer, Marcus Baptiste, with a record to hide, and British actor, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, as even bigger wig, Robert Morel, that seems to have a hand in everything going on.

    Like I said, I was psyched for this when I first heard about it and, as I didn’t get a chance to see it in the theatre, I was psyched for it hitting Blu-ray. The story is well written for the most part and more complex than I expected from a Stallone film, but following action blockbusters like Rambo and the Expendables films, I found Bullet to the Head a little underwhelming. I won’t say I regret watching it or that I want those ninety-two minutes back, but I was expecting more excitement from this one and, therefore, was a little disappointed. That said, I don’t think Stallone‘s character fell short. Stallone has played a variation of the same guy throughout his career for the most part. That being the case, while not widely ranged, he does what he does well. He does what moviegoers and Stallone fans expect, and that’s not a bad thing. The majority of the rest of the cast of characters are fine, Momoa and Akinnuoye-Agbaje have evil enough glares and smiles to make their characters believable and, Slater, while under-used in my opinion, was slimey and effective in the role. The one that didn’t seem to fit was Kang’s character. It was just a little, I guess you’d say, blah. He’s very monotone, very unexcitable and not particularly likable. Stallone’s and his interactions were unimpressive and his presence in the film seemed almost unnecessary. The moral conflict between the two wasn’t contrasting enough in my opinion and that could’ve had to do with the script, but I really feel it had more to do with a lackluster portrayal of the character. Could’ve been the directing though for all I know. We finally get “there”… the director. Those who know moviemaker, Walter Hill’s work, know he’s generally awesome and his films have made huge impressions on generations of people and on the world of cinema in general, whether in the role of director, producer, writer or however else he’s involved. Many people were excited by Bullet to the Head because it was a Stallone film, but many others highly anticipated it because it was a Walter Hill film. Sadly, this was no The Warriors, but then I don’t think anyone really expected that. Ah well, there’s a time and place for everyone and everything. Except, maybe, Taylor Kwon. Not knowing much of Sung Kang’s other work, I’ll chalk it up to bad writing.


    The Blu-ray of this Bullet to the Head combo pack is shown in AVC encoded 1.78:1 widescreen 1080p high def. The film is dark, not as bright and colorful as you’d expect the New Orleans setting to be, though according to the “making-of” extra on the disc, the dark look was intentional and therefore the fact that this is a Blu-ray isn’t really as obvious as one might hope. Still, the picture is clear and seemingly unflawed.

    Included on this disc is a DTS-HD English 5.1 soundtrack. The sound is very powerful when it needs to be, but balanced so not to be overbearing. Dialogue is crisp throughout. Subtitles are offered in English and Spanish.

    Worthy of note is the unusual soundtrack of this film. I dug the music, but at the same time, it seems a bit out of place for the New Orleans locale. The instrumentals for Stallone exiting had a “walking off into the sunset” feel to it and although completely an outlaw and anti-hero, it still made me raise an eyebrow. The New Orleans setting worked fine, but with a soundtrack like that, it felt like we should be in Texas or something.

    This combo pack includes a Blu-ray, DVD and UltraViolet digital copy. The only extra on this disc is Bullet to the Head: Mayhem Inc- a nine-minute look behind the scenes at the film’s fight choreography. Cast and crew discuss the contrast between the humor in the dialogue and what’s happening on the screen as well as the weapons used chosen as extensions of the characters’ personalities. And, of course, the climactic axe scene is broken down.

    The Final Word:

    Bullet to the Head was not as action-packed as I’d expected but the action/fight scenes were good (particularly the axe fight), even if too few and far between for what one might expect from a current Stallone flick. Of the two main characters, Stallone’s character was decent, Kang’s not so much. In the end, being a Stallone fan, I wanted to see it and am glad I did. It won’t be a four-times-a-year Rambo-level-awesome thing for me, but I saw it once and that’s good enough.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!

    Comments 3 Comments
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      I like the personal experiences you put in your reviews. Well done. I missed this one, I want to see it.
    1. Alison Jane's Avatar
      Alison Jane -
      Haha, did Ian tell you to say that?
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      Huh? No.