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Sly's newest thriller isn't the sharpest thing in the world, but it's a fun, bloody way to pass the time...
Warner / 92 Minutes / 2012 / Rated R / Street Date: July 16, 2013
So many of us are in such a leftover euphoria that movies like The Expendables are being made (and sequelized) now that as bad as fare like Bullet to the Head is, it pretty much still gets a pass. This Sylvester Stallone hit-man thriller has very little going on under its hood, and it’s as plainly predictable as genre filmmaking gets, but we’re not just tuning in to see Sly mumble a few ridiculous lines (we’ve done enough of that with stuff like Cobra): we’re in the junkyard of Bullet in the Head to see icons from the past spitfire back to life with newfound enthusiasm.
Stallone knows that his particular brand of celebrity right now orbits around a myriad of ‘match-ups’, where he and another recognizable face from cinemas past take to the streets and attempt to kick the shit out of each other. Whether it’s Dolph Lundgren or Van Damme in the Expendables movies or Christian Slater (!) here in Bullet to the Head, part of the fun of Sly’s recent action period lies in the fact that he can be surprisingly meta about his on-screen pairings yet still keep things sleek and dumb enough to satisfy the multiplex popcorn brigade.
In our newest Sly movie, the action legend plays Jimmy Bobo, a New Orleans hitman who, along with his partner Louis (Jon Seda), takes out a seriously nasty cop in a fashion that his employer doesn’t much care for. In trying to find a new gig, though, Sly gets in too deep right away: not only does he find himself going up against a super-meanie lawyer named Marcus Baptiste (that’s Christian Slater), but his daughter (Sarah Shahi) gets kidnapped by the guy, and tensions flare. Spoiler alert: there is violence in Bullet to the Head. Lots of it.
Is Bullet to the Head savvy or memorable in any particular way? Of course not. This is the sort of movie dudes wish their girlfriends would secretly tolerate, but Bullet to the Head plays squarely and uniquely into the wheelhouse of retro shoot-em-ups, and this new subgenre tends to only appeal to guys in their 30s and 40s who have watched Commando and Rocky IV more than ten times each. That being said, if The Expendables flicks whet your whistle, you’ll find more than enough reason to waste some time in front of Bullet to the Head.