Plot: What’s it about?
I’ve got to hand it to Sylvester Stallone, for a man of 67 years old (as of this writing), he looks physically amazing. Granted he’s always kept himself in impeccable shape, though when you make movies like Rocky and Rambo, I’d imagine that’s a necessity. Still, for a would be actor who wrote the screenplay to a movie that later won Best Picture – he’s been in the limelight for nearly forty years. That’s longevity, folks and it’s a rarity in Hollywood. He epitomized the 80’s Reagan era with both the Rocky and Rambo franchises with Rocky IV being the ultimate Cold War movie. Add to it that the films were both commercially and critically successful and you’ve got yourself a winning combination. But the 80’s are over and so are the 90’s (come to think about it so are the 00’s) and the world is a different place. Earlier this year we saw another 80’s mogul in Arnold Schwarzenegger do his best Gary Cooper in The Last Stand and now we’ve got Sylvester Stallone in Bullet to the Head. Arnold’s film wasn’t actually half bad, but how well does Sly’s work fare in the 21st century?
Stallone plays Jimmy Bobo, a hitman in New Orleans. He and his partner are on a routine job (think of Jules and Vincent in Pulp Fiction), though no sooner is the job done when Louis Blanchard (Jon Seda), Jimmy’s partner, is stabbed in a bar. Trying to piece together the puzzle, Jimmy forms an unlikely bond with Taylor Kown (Sung Kang), a police officer from Washington D.C. It’s not too long that the duo find out who’s behind the mess: Robert Morel (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) and his lawyer Marcus Baptiste (Christian Slater, yes…Christian Slater). There’s a cat and mouse game going on, but the real bad guy is the one who did the killing, Keegan (Jason Momoa), an impressive physical specimen who is lacking in conscience to boot. Things get more complicated when Jimmy’s daughter, Lisa (Sarah Shahi), is kidnapped. Now family is involved. Will Jimmy be able to outwit the bad guys or has his ticket finally been punched?
I read a review of this movie that essentially summed up what I was thinking…twenty or thirty years ago, this would have been your typical Stallone action flick that would have done decent box office. Now, however, he’s pushing 70 years old and while he looks great physically, it just seems to be missing something. And is it me or is Stallone even more hard to understand than ever? I literally could make out about every fifth word he said, I was one step away from turning on the captions! The movie isn’t bad, in fact it’s a bit entertaining. We’re so used to seeing Stallone kick ass and take names, it’s nice to see a villain like Keegan get some of the credit. Based on the French graphic novel Du plomb dans la tête by Alexis Nolent, there’s some substance here. So as much as I admire Stallone for still making films, maybe it’s time he passed the baton to a new generation of action stars. He’s had his day, no?
Video: How does it look?
If the film’s story isn’t gritty enough, the 1.78:1 AVC HD transfer by Warner hits the nail on the head (er, the “bullet” rather). It’s dark and it’s gritty and it does add a bit of character to the film. We can see the years on Stallone’s face and the scruff on his face. Certainly the years have been kind to him, though the overall fine layer of grain does give this movie a unique look to it. The detail is amazing, we can see the fine lines in the tattoos, the writing on newspaper and the little nuances here and there. This is a good offering and what we’d expect from a day and date release from Warner.
Audio: How does it sound?
If the opening scene (that literally features a bullet coming straight at you) doesn’t grab your attention, then I don’t know what will. The DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack has moments of excellence and this uncompressed track has a lot to offer. I’d made mention of Stallone’s dialogue (or lack thereof), though he slurs and mumbles his way through yet another film, it’s no fault of the mix. The front heavy offering makes use of most all speakers with the surrounds (all of them) chiming in for some unexpected depth. A nice mix.
Supplements: What are the extras?
Unfortunately we only get one featurette, “Mayhem, Inc.” and that’s it. Sorry Sly fans, this is all you get but thankfully he’s got a resume with over 40 years of movies on it, so if you’re looking for supplements – you’re bound to find them…on another disc.