Bullet to the Head is a classic Stallone starrer — a flick reeking of testosterone and action, a hint of old school meets new school, and quick witted dialogue courtesy of the action veteran. A formula for success? No doubt about it.
The film revolves around a case of double cross, when local hitman Jimmy Bobo (Sylvester Stallone), and his partner Louis find themselves in trouble after they get set up to take down a rogue policeman who knew too much about an unscrupulous real estate deal involving high level politicians, policemen, businessmen and gangsters. After Louis gets killed by an assassin named Keegan (Jason Momoa, Conan, Game of Thrones), Bobo tries to extract revenge on the mastermind of the hit with the aid of detective Taylor Kwon (Sung Kang, The Fast and the Furious franchise), whose disdain for Jimmy’s old school methods often leads to an odd couple-esque vibe between the two.
Bullet to the Head had a very simple plot, not exactly original but still watchable. Throwing in Sly into the mix was a surefire guarantee that the movie will sell to hard core action lovers, and for good reason. When Sly was younger, he boasted of a really tight physique and an air of machismo that he still carries around with him after playing iconic characters like Rocky and Rambo. What he brings to the table, now that he’s older, is this “been there done that” air which works well for the characters that he chooses to play nowadays. Sly wears his age like a badge of honor and he’s very comfortable with it. He embraces his old school roots and does not try to change to suit modern action standards. Instead, he makes today’s standards adapt to him.
This was very obvious in this film as writer-director Walter Hill decided to play off the contrast between Jimmy and Kwon’s character. Kwon was ultra modern and confident but most of the time, his character still had a lot to learn from Jimmy.
I liked that the script had a lot of sass. True, I would not have used the term to describe Stallone on any other occasion but his lines definitely had sass. There was also no shortage of racial jokes directed an Kwon but they were all delivered in a very humorous manner so they were not really offensive. Their back and forth made the movie fun and light despite the fact that they were being hunted down by a hulking beast of an assassin and that the entire system was working against them.
In truth, I thought that Sung Kang was underutilized in this film and would have liked for his character Kwon to have bigger action scenes. Since fighting was not really his M.O., some cool car chases could have been thrown in to play to his strengths.
All in all, Bullet to the Head was an enjoyable watch especially for fans of action. A lot of explosions, a great one on one towards the end between Stallone and Momoa (who is a vast improvement after his portrayal of Conan), gunfights, and stunts. Hardly a dull moment, as is expected of a Stallone movie. It did not disappoint.
By the way, Bullet to the Head is an adaptation of the French graphic novel Du Plomb Dans La Tete.