Craig's Early Review: "Bullet to the Head"

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Sylvester Stallone plays a New Orleans hitman who teams up with a young Washington DC detective (Sung Kang) in a high-stakes investigation that leads from dingy back alleys all the way to the power corridors of New Orleans. The unlikely duo, brought together by two vicious murders, take on all who stand in their way, willing to sacrifice everything to exact revenge. Directed by Walter Hill, the crime actioner also stars Christian Slater and Jason Momoa.
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Movie Review: "Bullet to the Head"

I wish I could have been in on the creative meeting when the producers were discussing titles for this thing. Formerly called “Headshot”, before someone presumably thought that title was too sissified, “Bullet to the Head” is about as apt a description for a film as i’ve seen in a long while. But for all the empty violence, “B2TH” is still kind of fun and compared to last weeks “Parker”, its craftsmanship at its best.

Sylvester Stallone plays Joe Bobo, a New Orleans hit man who’s been arrested 26 times, lives by a strict code of only taking out the worst criminals, and doesn’t enjoy trusting people. So when his partner (Jon Seda) is killed, the last thing he wants to do is partner up with Washington homicide detective Taylor (Sung Kang), but in order to take down the guys who double crossed him, he has to. Those guys are a sleazy lawyer (Christian Slater) and an exiled African industrialist (Adewale Akkinuoye-Agbaje) looking to knock down ghetto houses and put up condos (don’t expect any economic subtext, this is just here to prove they’re bad) and using another hit man (Jason Momoa) to clear the road blocks.

Otherwise this is all tough, bad-ass action movie stuff and Walter Hill, one of the best action directors ever but one we’ve heard little from in the past decade, gives the film its stylized, hardcore edge while Steve Mazzaro’s Cajun-Rock mash-up soundtrack fills in the down times nicely. There’s a funny chemistry between Stallone and Kang, where the competitive banter between cop-criminal, young-old and easy Asian and lunk jokes are made, but Kang is easily overshadowed in every other portion of the film by the still buff and in-command Stallone. Of course when you have to say wimpy dialogue about holding people up to moral codes, you’re going to look like a choir boy anyway.

And speaking of action, there’s a serviceable amount of violence here. It’s all fist-fights, shootings, and explosions, most ending with a bullet to the head like the title says. Nothing here really screams for attention, other than a really impressive axe fight at the end, but like I said it worked for me. This is a short, action-packed vehicle for Stallone to work with and for the most part, it does what’s expected of it.