After two Expendables movies Stallone returns to starring solo in an action movie of the same vein that propelled him into super stardom in the 80’s. 4 years after killing a Birmese army alone in Rambo, Stallone returns to familiar ground playing a hit-man. In this case a hit-man who has to team up with a cop to find the guy that murdered his partner. A take on the buddy cop movie which veteran director Walter Hill is no stranger to, seeing as he helmed both 48 Hours movies.
Despite getting a wide release, Bullet to the Head feels very much like a direct to video effort, one Seagal, Van Damme, Lundgren etc. are so well known for these days. Stallone has always been a bit higher up on the ladder. All of his movies since 2006 have gotten cinema releases world wide, but between Cop Land (1997) and Rocky Balboa (2006) he starred in a string of flops, most of which went silently straight to DVD overseas. The reason for Bullet to the Head feeling like a DTV movie is due to a number of choices. First of all it only has Stallone as the main attraction. The supporting cast is made up of little known actors, or actors mostly known for TV work. The only other recognizable name is that of has-been Christian Slater. Once a teen idol and A-list movie star, but he dropped of the general radar ever since the early 00’s.
Another reason is the simplistic plot the movie has. A cop (played by Sung Kang) is trying to solve a hit on his ex-partner which was done by Stallone and his partner. They both get set up pretty quickly afterwards for no good reason other than to create a story. Seriously, in hind sight the whole plot of killing them after the hit instead of just paying them made very little sense.
What’s a better bond between a hit-man and a cop than the mutual grief over a dead partner? So they form an uneasy bond in which neither trusts each other and the cop constantly threatens to take him in for the murder on his ex-partner. The flow comes straight out of a video game; They just work themselves up the ladder one handler at the time until they have the final showdown with the mastermind… who just wants to develop some apartment buildings.
Stallone is always fun to watch. Aided by the fact he has played such a character for more than 3 decades he’s believable as an aging hit-man still being able to basically kick everybody’s ass, even that of Jason Momoa whom most people will probably know as Kal Drogo from Game of Thrones. Though muscular as ever, Stallone’s body is visibly getting older as I couldn’t help but staring at all those veins on his arms and torso.
Bullet to the Head is a nice throwaway movie. There’s nothing special on display here, and could have just as well been dumped in the DTV section. It’s entertaining to a certain degree, and that’s all there is to it.