REVIEW: Bullet To The Head

"It's great to see Stallone in top form doing what he does best."

A tough as nails hitman loses his partner after being set-up by his employer.  The job in question had him kill an ex-cop which brings an FBI agent to town on the hunt.  Both men reluctantly team up and go on a bloody rampage to put the men ultimately responsible down.

I've been waiting for BULLET TO THE HEAD for awhile now, pumped to see Stallone back in leading man form starring in something that wasn't EXPENDABLES, RAMBO or ROCKY.  Don't get me wrong, I love all the previously mentioned films, but it was time for something new.  I wish it had come out before THE LAST STAND however, as I don't like the negative connection being made there.  Arnold's first solo flick back didn't fare too well at the box office and no, neither did Sly's as far as opening weekend numbers go, but if you asked me which of the two was the better film, Sly wins hands down (here's the hoping their teaming in THE TOMB yields better numbers theatrically).

Something people need to realize from the get-go is that action films aren't there to win awards, "wow" us or make us think, they're there to pump us up and tap into our inner animals.  Sly's hardened assassin alter ego was pitch perfect--he felt reminiscent of an older version of his character in ASSASSINS.  Say what you will about the nearly seventy year old veteran, but damn does he still look good on screen and make no mistake about it, he can still carry a fight scene.  The fight choreography  is touch and go with some "shaky cam" work, but the film delivers when it comes to fight scenes (especially if you want to hear and feel the punches).

I was also a fan of the dialogue in both Stallone's monologues and in his interactions with co-star Sung Kang (FAST AND THE FURIOUS).  Sly's end of things was loaded with smartly timed one liners and many a laugh.  Kang felt weak on screen though and pulled the vibe down for me at times--probably because I knew going in that Thomas Jane was originally in the role, only to be fired when the film changed directors.  But the true underdog gem here is Jason Momoa as the film's villain (and hat's off to Christian Slater's small role as a slimy lawyer--that dude sure knows how to throw a party).  Momoa is a total badass and carries himself as such.  His opening scene with the knives was brilliant as was the final battle with the axes.  This guy is pure awesome and I sincerely hope he gets his due because this flick's success (in my eyes) is based just as much on his performance as it is on Sly's.

BULLET TO THE HEAD won't do all that well in theaters and that's mostly because of LIONSGATE's uncanny inability to properly market a film.  Most people have no idea what this movie is, and that's a damn shame.  Again, don't go in to it with any other mindset than "let's turn up the volume for some good old fashioned whoop-ass", because if you do, you may end up disappointed.  The rest of us you, however, will love the ride and silently pray you'll be looking this good come seventy (here's hoping).  This bad boy was gritty, dark, bloody and just funny enough to break the tension when needed.  The characters worked and the story was good enough to keep me interested.  And at the end of the day, the action scenes were top notch and that's what kept a smile on my face from start to finish.

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