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Bullet to the Head - Blu-ray Review

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Bullet to the Head - Movie Review

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4 stars

It has been a decade since last we heard from director Walter Hill (The Warriors, 48 Hours) and his latest, Bullet to the Head, offers no explanation for the ten year silence.  No apology needed from the maestro, mind you.  Just sit back and enjoy the one-liners.  Bullet to the Head is just what the doctor ordered; muscle-strapped tongue-in-cheek heroics that play more like Commando than they do with the heart and the head.

A uniquely charismatic Sylvester Stallone, playing to his one-liner strengths, is Jimmy Bobo, a steely-eyed New Orleans assassin who just got double crossed by the power-mongers who hired him.  In a move for total control, his paranoid handlers hire a take-no-mess mercenary (Jason Momoa) to make sure Bobo has his partner (Jon Seda) have their last supper.   Investigating DC cop Taylor Kwon (Sung Kang) forms an uneasy alliance with Bobo as the two do their best to work together and uncover the truth in a wide-reaching real estate plot that manages to entangle them both and Bobo’s tattooed daughter.

Based on a French comic book series by Matz, Bullet to the Head is a nice throwback to the era of 90-minute buddy cop pictures where the one-liners - “You had me at f@#$ you” for example – are as easily enjoyed as the unapologetic on-screen carnage.   This is a visual and audible explosion.  The detonations are wild.  The punches land against bare skin with rage.  Even the bullets seem to thud in the audience’s chest (figuratively).  We even get a colossal showdown in an abandoned warehouse between Conan’s Momoa (who still can’t act) and Stallone…with battleaxes.  Yes, axes.  Why can't all on-screen arguments be settled this way?

Stallone is, thankfully, on fire throughout Bullet to the Head.  He’s more engaged than he was in The Expendables 2 and, as a result, brings a lot of chiseled, dog-worn personality to his lines and dry narration.  Shall I suggest that he’s right on target?  To fully enjoy Bullet to the Head, one must keep the tongue firmly in cheek.  This monster of a roided-out flick does not take itself seriously.  And that, dear readers, is part of its old-school charm and it extends to the acting.  The henchmen are exactly that and nothing more.

Hill and stunt coordinator JJ Perry have fastened together an action film that satisfies on almost every level for the genre.  Almost, I say because there is a bit of the banter between Stallone (who nails it) and Kang (who doesn’t) that falls flat.  It’s as if Kang doesn’t quite have a handle on his character’s relationship with Bobo and dials up the aloofness that never quite translates into believability for the buddy cop picture.  These moments should have sweetened the picture, instead they bring it down a notch.

Thankfully, Bullet to the Head is an over-the-top violent display of 1980’s machismo that only needs a rabid fanbase to make it an early February hit.  And it should be.  That is, unless – in this burgeoning anti-handgun era – you are easily offended by extreme violence (especially the type that goes straight to the head) and really loud neighborhood-rattling explosions.  Yeah, didn’t think so.

Bullet to the Head is exactly what it claims to be and I’m not complaining.

{2jtab: Film Details}

Bullet to the Head - Movie ReviewMPAA Rating: R for strong violence, bloody images, language, some nudity and brief drug use.
Runtime:
91 mins.
Director
: Walter Hill
Writer: Alessandro Camon
Cast: Sylvester Stallone; Sung Kang ; Jason Momoa; Sarah Shahi
Genre
: Action | Crime
Tagline:
Bullet to the Head
Memorable Movie Quote: "I'm a people person."
Distributor:
Warner Bros. Pictures
Official Site:
bullettothehead.warnerbros.com
Release Date: July 16, 2013
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
July 16, 2013.

Synopsis: Based on a graphic novel, "Bullet to the Head" tells the story of a New Orleans hitman (Stallone) and a DC cop (Kang) who form an alliance to bring down the killers of their respective partners.

{2jtab: Blu-ray Review}

Bullet to the Head - Blu-ray Review

Component Grades
Movie

Blu-ray Disc
4 stars

3 stars



Blu-ray Experience
3.5 stars

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - July 16, 2013
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English SDH, Spanish
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD); UV digital copy; Digital copy (as download); DVD copy
Region Encoding: Region A

Warner Bros’ 1080p/AVC transfer for this one gives us the film in a decent - but not exactly pristine - presentation, which preserves the film's 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Black levels are strong throughout as is the bold use of blood.  However, the feature's color palette isn't a wondrous experience by design so colors never really pop like you might want and expect them, too.  This is a mood piece and the crispness is in facial features and rough and tough exteriors only.  The disc sports a walloping DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack that will make you feel every punch and gunshot.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

Revenge might never get old but weak blu-ray releases from a studio that know better do.  This is Walter Hill’s return to film in almost a decade.  Can’t we celebrate that with a commentary or more special features?  Not here.  Not at all.  You get a DVD version of the movie and a downloadable copy of the film, but the single behind-the-scenes featurette that doesn't even hit the 10 minute mark.  Boo, Warner Bros, boo.

  • Mayhem, Inc. (9 min)

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