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After watching their respective partners die, a New Orleans hitman and a Washington D.C. detective form an alliance in order to bring down their common enemy.

“Bullet to the Head”

Directed by Walter Hill

5 out of 10

“Bullet to the Head” is a sort of throwback to retro action flicks that we may have watched back in the 80’s. It is a somewhat decent but tired looking production that barely satisfies our “violent revenge  movie” fix.  BTTH achieves in total reverse what more recent Stallone vehicles, like, say, “The Expendables’ ( 1 and 2 ) did very neatly and explosively. And that is to provide ludicrous, over the top, non-stop dumb action. What director Walter Hill ( 48 Hours, The Warriors, Red Heat ) brings us is an extension of his tried and true formula of western style action and mechanisms that resembles a burned out beast with little blood left in it. I think maybe Hill is that beast if not then Stallone surely is. These 2 heavyweights provide a lackluster undertaking that moves, stalls then moves again then stalls. It happens too many times and one gets the impression that this movie should have been dealt better cards had it been beefed up a bit both with a story and some enthusiasm on the parts of the lead actors. Stallone dejectedly plays a grizzled and hopelessly bored, smart ass hit-man against the upper class and uptight DC agent Talyor Kwon ( Sung Kang of Ninja Assassin ).  Stallone plays Jimmy Bobo who loses his partner, Louis, in a hit gone wrong. Bobo hooks up with Kwon to try and find out who killed Louis after Bobo whacks a lowlife cop in all the confusion. Still with me? Well, it really doesn’t matter. Some bad dudes Kidnap Bobo’s tattoo artist daughter, Lisa (Sarah Sashi of CBS” Person of Interest) and things get nasty as Bobo makes it his mission to, despite Kwon’s protest, obliterate anyone who gets in his way.

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There is a subplot about an international fugitive and a corrupt lawyer which involves LOST actor Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje in all his overacting glory and Christian Slater who well…chews the scenery with prompt vigor. Ho hum. The dynamics and complexities of the plot are lost on us quickly because BTTH stumbles along not being interesting and setting up the characters enough for us to even care about them. Stallone is almost literally given nothing special or exciting to do but spurt out a couple of witty comeback lines. Kwon (Kang) is as interesting or elaborate as a sheet of wax paper. He just seems lost here.  Kwon is clearly playing the Robin to Stallone’s Batman here but he is just so underwhelming  opposite Stallone. In fact Stallone, despite the great looks of Lisa (who is a throwaway character), is the one to watch here but he is just going through the motions most of the time. Stallone is quite capable still (even shirtless) and he proves it in a brutal fight scene with a guy twice his size played by Jason Momoa from “Game of Thrones.”  Unfortunately, Hill gives us a slovenly and withered version of his better attempts at violent and action oriented buddy movies like “48 Hrs” and such. It consists of  one rumpled action scene after another that never really excites. Granted, Stallone is always good for a watch these days because he deserves that much considering his resume.

BTTH does have action in spades and it is messy, bloody and provides fast quips, one liners, racial innuendos and endless thugs to provide the high body count but there is not much else to admire. Hill’s direction is practically absent and the feel of the movie is unspectacular. I wanted to like BTTH as a stupid, loud and bombastic revenge flick (which it barely is) but it has no heart, energy or surprises. Slater is horrible, Sashi is hardly onscreen and Agbaje is just ludicrous here. This is pure Stallone and he would have carried it well if he had some meat to chew on. “Bullet to the Head” is merely a time waster that you may wish had a bit more backbone instead of a empty belly.

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