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Review: Bullet To The Head

PUBLISHED: 11:25 04 February 2013 | UPDATED: 11:25 04 February 2013

Bullet To The Head

Bullet To The Head

Archant

Sylvester Stallone is a hit man; Sung Kang is a policeman. After Stallone's partner is killed they team up for no pressing reason to go get the baddies who did it. In between shooting, stabbing, blowing up and punching people around New Orleans they engage in foul mouthed banter.

They ain’t partners, they ain’t brothers and they ain’t friends, but no matter how much you want it to be – this ain’t 48 Hours. But if you are feeling indulgent it is engaging enough. It raises a few laughs and after Oscar-pleading season just the running time alone is probably enough to get it three stars.

The film’s flaw as a buddy movie is that Stallone doesn’t want to share. The bulbous pensioner cuts a ridiculous figure. His muscles sit on him like silicone breasts on a retired adult actress and during the shirt-off scenes the two enormous tattoos on his shoulders resemble a knitted shawl that has wrinkled with wear.

But he has survivor charisma and Korean American actor Kang, who generally knocks around in the background of Fast and Furious films, never suggests he presents any risk of escaping from Stallone’s shadow. So the film could afford to cut him some slack but he is used purely as the stooge.

His chief function is as a plot device. At regular junctures he will ring up the police records department or consult the internet which will inform the pair of the location of their next action sequence.

The credits proclaim this as “A Walter Hill Film” but it really isn’t.

This is the first film in 10 years for the 1970s action master – Southern Comfort, The Long Riders, The Warriors – but he returns as a hired hand, brought in after a parting of the ways with original director (imagine having creative differences over a Stallone movie) and with most of the casting choices already made.

I guess it was better than sitting at home and he adds a few trademark touches, gives a bit of zip to some tired old set-ups and makes sure it is accompanied by a stomping blues soundtrack. Even if a job isn’t worth doing, it’s worth doing right.

BULLET TO THE HEAD (15)

Director: Walter Hill

Starring Sylvester Stallone, Sung Kang, Jason Momoa, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Christian Slater and Sarah Shahi

Length: 91 mins

***

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