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Walter Hill
Sylvester Stallone, Sung Kang, Sarah Shahi, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Jason Momoa, Christian Slater
Writing Credits:
Alessandro Camon, Alexis Nolent (based on the graphic novel "Du plomb dans la tęte"), Colin Wilson (based on the graphic novel "Du plomb dans la tęte")

Jimmy Bobo (Sylvester Stallone) enters into an unlikely alliance with by-the-book detective Taylor Kwon (Sung Kang) to bring down the ruthless killer of their respective partners.

Box Office:
$40 million.
Opening Weekend
$4.548 million on 2404 screens.
Domestic Gross
$9.483 million.

Rated R

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Latin Spanish
Supplements Subtitles:
Latin Spanish

Runtime: 92 min.
Price: $35.99
Release Date: 7/16/2013

• “Mayhem Inc.” Featurette
• DVD Copy
• Previews


Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


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Bullet To The Head [Blu-Ray] (2012)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (July 18, 2013)

Early 2013 didn’t prove fruitful for aging action heroes. 80s legends Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis all put out new flicks – and all of them flopped. Actually, Willis’s A Good Day to Die Hard didn’t totally tank, but its $67 million gross made it the least successful Die Hard flick ever and a substantial commercial disappointment.

On the other hand, $67 million looked stellar compared to what Willis’s peers did. Schwarzenegger’s The Last Stand mustered only $12 million, while Stallone’s Bullet to the Head petered out at $9 million. Well, at least all three can look forward to 2014’s Expendables 3 and hope for the best!

In Bullet, New Orleans hitman Jimmy Bonomo (Stallone) and his partner Louis Blanchard (Jon Seda) kill disgraced former District of Columbia detective Hank Greely (Holt McCallany). When they go to a bar, an enforcer named Keegan (Jason Momoa) slays Louis and attempts to kill Jimmy, but Bonomo manages to escape.

DC detective Taylor Kwon (Sung Kang) flies to New Orleans to investigate, but he doesn’t get a warm welcome from the local cops. Kwon contacts Bonomo and the pair form an unlikely alliance to get to the bottom of the situation and solve it to the satisfaction of both sides.

Stallone isn’t the only 70s/80s notable who pops up via Bullet, as Walter Hill – best-known for flicks like 1979’s The Warriors and 1982’s 48 Hours - leads his first directorial effort since 2002’s Undisputed. Hill hasn’t been totally dormant over the last decade, as he worked on projects like Deadwood, but this brings him back in a more active way.

As a creative comeback, Bullet doesn’t reinvent any wheels. One could argue that 48 Hours did more to influence the “mismatched buddies” genre than any other movies, and Bullet reflects that influence. Hill doesn’t really self-plagiarize, as Bullet lacks the comedy of Hours, but to some degree, it does feel like a return to that same territory.

And a return to the 80s, too, as Bullet comes across as a throwback. While I can’t say it feels dated, it also rarely seems like something modern. That’s not necessarily a bad thing – hey, it’s nice to get a film without a teal and orange palette, and Hill avoids the overuse of shakycam that mars so many contemporary flicks. Still, it’d be nice to see a movie with a little more juice to it that didn’t feel like it could’ve been made 25 years ago.

None of this makes Bullet a bad action/detective flick, but it fails to become anything out of the ordinary. I’ll say this for it: I appreciate the presence of an Asian character who lacks martial arts skills. Bullet nods at Kwon’s ethnicity via occasional lame – and unnecessary - wisecracks, but that’s it; otherwise he could be any race, and I like that.

Other than that, Bullet comes with a fairly clear “been there, done that” factor. While it delivers a decent story and action experience, it doesn’t manage to elevate its game at any point. As noted, the pairing of the criminal and the cop has been done to death, and the way in which old school/new school butt heads via Bonomo and Kwon also feels tired.

We fail to find much chemistry between Kang and Stallone. They interact in a competent manner but always kind of feel like they’re in different movies. Some of that makes sense from the “mismatched partners” POV, but even when they try to connect, they don’t fit; they just don’t do much to bring out the best in each other.

Even with the stale nature of the story and characters, I still think Bullet provides a competent action flick. It throws out enough violent fun to make it watchable and moderately entertaining. It simply lacks anything to take it to a higher level, though.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B+/ Bonus D

Bullet to the Head appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. I found a mostly positive transfer here.

Sharpness was usually good. A few shots seemed a smidgen soft, but those were rare and minor, so the majority of the film showed nice delineation. I saw no issues with moiré effects or jaggies, and edge haloes failed to appear. Source flaws were non-existent.

In terms of palette, Bullet stayed with a decidedly low-key set of colors, as this was essentially a sepia affair. A few other tones appeared, but the flick stayed fairly monochrome; within those parameters, the hues seemed appropriate. Blacks were dark and dense, while shadows were good. This wasn’t quite an “A”-level presentation, but it satisfied.

The same went for the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Bullet, as it offered a pretty lively piece. The soundfield created a nice sense of place and threw out fine action when appropriate. The movie’s various fight/gun-related sequences boasted vivid material that showed up around the spectrum in a worthwhile manner.

Other aspects of the track satisfied as well. Music always offered good stereo imaging, and quieter scenes were convincing, too. These showed a clear sense of place and meshed together in a pleasing way.

Audio quality always satisfied. Effects were dynamic and clear, with deep bass and good punch. Music showed similar strengths, as the score was lively and full. Speech came across as natural and concise. I liked this track and thought it added to the movie.

A featurette called Mayhem Inc. runs nine minutes, 21 seconds a provides comments from director Walter Hill, stunt coordinators JJ Perry and Noon Orsatti, producer Joel Silver, and actors Sylvester Stallone, Jason Momoa, Christian Slater, Sung Kang, and Sarah Shahi. We learn about story and characters, cast and performances, stunts ands action, and some general thoughts. A few decent notes emerge, but this remains a promo piece without much depth.

The disc opens with an ad for Gangster Squad. No trailer for Bullet appears here.

A second disc provides a DVD Copy of Bullet. It includes the “Mayhem” featurette.

A throwback to the action buddy flicks of the 80s, Bullet to the Head delivers decent entertainment but remains uninspired. While it keeps the viewer with it, at no point does it threaten to become anything more involving than a “C”-level action movie. The Blu-ray delivers very good picture and audio but lacks many bonus materials. Fans of the genre might get a kick out of Bullet but I can’t recommend it to a broader audience.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.4705 Stars Number of Votes: 17
10 3:
View Averages for all rated titles.

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