There was a time when the word “formula” was only used in maths. Unfortunately, we’re in a world where certain films – even action films – can now truly be a form of art, but also described as having a formula; aging action star who should know better + director who should know better + tiresome sequel set-up ending + copious amounts of pointless violence = tiresome, tiresome, tiresome throw-back action film.
Bullet to the Head stars Sly Stallone as a hitman called – not kidding in the slightest – Bobo. Isn’t that just hilarious? No, Bullet to the Head, it really isn’t. It’s a tad distracting at best. So, Bobo the (clown) hitman, teams up with Police Detective Taylor Kwon to take down main villain Keegan (Jason Momoa) for … some … reason. He’s a bad guy and one of the few characters with arms as big as Stallone’s, a physical feature that seems to be his only noteworthy significance. Stallone’s character has a daughter and rest assured, dear readers of Venue, she’s kidnapped before the credits roll. The worst thing a critic can say about this film, is that what should be deemed a spoiler is instead something rather obvious. How very tiresome.
Bullet to the Head’s greatest flaw is its lack of durability and longevity. Although it does attempt to retain elements of classic 80s action films such as Lethal Weapon and Red Heat, it possesses none of the camp fun or charm that these films were, and still are, fabled for. The true test is that whilst Lethal Weapon is still being bought and watched today, it’s hard to imagine many returning to watch Bullet to the Head once they leave the cinema.
Other aspects of the story also fall flat. Walter Hill chooses to open his film half way through the narrative, an interesting convention that sounds very Tarantino-esque on paper but sadly falls flat in both style and exceution.
For what it’s worth, though, it’s all shot well enough; Walter Hill hasn’t lost the ability to shoot an action sequence but it undeniably has none of the flare of his early Westerns. Stallone himself is probably the best part of the affair. His physical presensce and stuntwork is definitely commendale, although his slurred line delivery continues to bemuse. No single component of Bullet to the Head does a wholly bad job but it’s all so mind-numbingly average.