Heart pounding late 80’s and early 90’s action cinema is where it’s at. In regards to essential adrenaline pumping thrill ride type movies. Some of my favorites must be listed: Die Hard, Point Break, Top Gun, The Last Boy Scout, Total Recall, Terminator 2, True Lies, Demolition Man, Bad Boys and the list goes on. These movies made you laugh, yell out like an idiot in the theater and grip the arms of the seat intensely, while one of the most ridiculous shootouts you have ever seen, breaks out right in front of you. We would chew popcorn and dose up on some serious testosterone. Those were the days. Hollywood is still searching for the next big action nut grabber but just about everything falls just a bit short of that illustrious ten year period where we received the best mindless violent action classics ever.
So, in comes Walter Hill, the man responsible for 48 Hours, Another 48 Hours, Driver, Last Man Standing, Streets of Fire, Red Heat and last but far from least The Warriors. There are others of course but I don’t want to be here all day. My thoughts become, wow, maybe Walter Hill can save us from the PG-13 action movie. So, then I hear Sly Stallone is at bat for another action extravaganza and it’s gonna be rated R! Let the celebration begin. Script be damned this movie is going to be ridiculous, fun and all the things I loved about the ridiculous late 80’s early 90’s action flicks.
Well, sadly that isn’t the case. Bullet To The Head falls short of greatness by more than a little. It wasn’t Stallone’s fault by any means. He turns in a great Stallone performance, it’s everyone else involved in the film that fell short. The villain isn’t quite silly enough, the tough guy is so tough but far too silly to be taken seriously and the script and casting were far from inspired. What you end up with is something that feels small and a bit silly with some great action moments that don’t quite add up to anything worth seeing again or seeing in the first place for that matter.
Walter Hill directs great action and usually directs great-ish characters but he couldn’t bring the two together at all this time around. Also, his use of practical effects in his previous films also made the violence that much more fun. Some of the effects are practical but most are cleaned up by the use of CGI and other such methods, that for my money, really seem like a cost cutting short cut by todays standards. Whereas most films that used CGI in the past were the very expensive films with huge budgets, that certainly doesn’t seem to be the case any longer. CGI seems to be a shortcut directors use to make things look a bit cleaner than the practical effects but in turn end up looking cheap and so fake it makes my brain hurt. Eventually there was going to be a shift in regards to these things and while they aren’t huge issues in this film specifically it’s definitely there and definitely distracting.
When you think of acting and the art of acting you definitely don’t think of action movies. Acting is an afterthought to the large ‘splosions, gunfights and car chases. And why shouldn’t it be, it’s a roller coaster disguised as a movie. Designed for fun, cheap thrills and laughs. This movie has all these things but the acting is so bad that it’s distracting. In fact it seems as though they just told the actors to go say the lines in front of the camera so they could move on to the action scenes. Maybe not much different than say a porn. “Yeah, yeah say the lines and then get to the good stuff. I’m wastin’ film here.” This had to have been an actual conversation on the set.
Bullet To The Head is interesting in that it doesn’t hide the fact that it’s got Walter Hill’s famous buddy cop bent all over it. It’s there for all to see. It’s almost like Beverly Hills Cop and 48 Hours got together and tried to have a baby but it came out looking a bit off. Unfortunate, really and slightly upsetting. This had all the right ingredients to be a fairly fun time at the theater that could then be enjoyed for home consumption again and again but it falls flat. Very, very flat. Completely predictable, boring and silly from start to finish. Walter Hill didn’t help himself out by casting a less than inspired group of Fast and Furious knockoffs. None of them worth mentioning really, maybe Jason Momoa as he was fairly good as the unbeatable hitman to Sly Stallone’s unbeatable hitman? Yeah that’s really as interesting as things get. Maybe I expected too much or maybe I just wanted to be thrilled a bit more than I was. But when all is said and done and the credits roll you are left with an 85 minute hole in your day that you can’t get back.
I give this 2 Ed Hardy Shirts out of 5
By Brandon Bray