Film Review: Bullet to the Head (2012)

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SYNOPSIS:

The unlikely duo of a New Orleans contract killer and Washington D.C. cop band together to find the one that killed each of their respective partners.

REVIEW:

Directed By: Walter Hill
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Sung Kang, Sarah Shahi, Jason Momoa, Christian Slater

At age sixty seven Stallone shows he’s still got it and has no intention of letting up anytime soon. While most of us would sell our souls to the devil to look half as good as the iconic action star at even twenty years his junior, the Italian Stallion continues to reinvent his persona. Love him or hate him, you can’t deny the screen presence of this legend. This time around we see the Rambo and Rocky star as Jason Bonomo, a sociopathic contract killer that shoots and asks questions later.

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Perhaps most surprisingly his chemistry with Sung Kang as the D.C. detective Taylor Kwon is cohesive as Ying and Yang. Their interaction is worth the price of admission alone. As they reluctantly band together in search of those responsible for slaying their collective partners we’re treated to a great deal of conflict escalation and classic one liners and knee slapping dialogue. Some of their verbal exchanges are reminiscent of a Jackie Chan/Chris Tucker soiree.

While the plot seems intriguing enough and engaging the action is fierce and intense. The raw energy and aggression is near kinetic in intensity. Yet the viewer cannot help but shake the notion these waters have been chartered perhaps once too often and the end result is slightly on the predictable side.

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Some interesting cinematography techniques are utilized such as rapid fading in and out, panning and wide angle shots that are intended to convey a first person persona that is riveting. For reasons that are murky the screen strategies are discarded in all likelihood to the disdain of the audience. Just as we’re submerged into the fray of the action the sequences are shot with much of the same old action film style that really is one and the same as virtually any bombs, boobs and bandits title out there.

Use of symbolism is presented in the form of a reoccurring panther tattoo. This presents some potential innovation and gives the audience the impression we’re privy to a foreshadow or segue to be explored later in duration. Oddly enough the premise is all but abandoned creating more confusion and disappointment.

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Jason Momoa plays an effective rival of Keegan. While the Hawaiian heartthrob seems like more of a keepsake in heroic type pictures such as the Conan The Barbarian remake he pulls off a riveting performance as a ruthless villain. His presence alone in the credits will surely allure a wide female demographic in the audience. Ladies will undoubtedly be frenzied into tossing their unmentionables at the screen (and perhaps a few men). His fight scenes with Stallone are arguably most noteworthy. It should also be noted that Momoa is thirty three years younger, making Stallone almost twice his age.

Each of the fight scenes are innovative and exhilarating to satiate even the most disciplined of action film buffs.

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The final act may disappoint the discerning filmgoer once again making the plot seem a little predictable. Based upon the graphic novel by Alexis Nolent titled “Du Plom Dans La Tete” one has to wonder how close the adaptation was in execution.

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Bullet to the Head may not precisely be a blockbuster smash but suffice to say there is a little something for most high octane film fans.

-Three out of five tombstones

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