Bullet In The Face – The Complete Series (DVD Review)

Bullet-In-The-FaceShout! Factory brings home the IFC series Bullet In The Face.  The show is another from the creator of Sledge Hammer!, Alan Spencer.  It had a 6 episode run on the network, airing all the episodes between 2 nights.  The show was shot in Canada and features Eric Roberts and Eddie Izzard is special guest star role capacity.   It features a lot of outlandish comedy focusing on violence with a bit of a neo-noir tone.  While the show was short lived, it picked up notoriety from its DVD releases in other countries and now has a cult fanbase similar to the creators other works.  Its hitting shelves soon, so lets take a look at it.

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The city of Brutteville houses to notorious crime bosses who fight for control of the city’s crime syndicate.  One of those bosses is Johann Tannhauser, a delicate fellow and the other is the ruthless Racken.  Sociopath hitman Gunter Vogler works for Tannhauser.  One day he is given an order from Tannhauser to kill his wife, whom Vogler is having an affair with and she is pregnant with his child, after a jewelry store robbery.  The robbery goes awry when the police show up and a detective has him at gunpoint.  Vogler shoots the detective but a gun goes off he blacks out.

Vogler awakens cuffed to a hospital bed, held in custody by the police.  He killed that detective, but he was shot in the face by his lover Martine, Tannhauser’s wife.  The police have taken the deceased detective’s face and surgical installed it on Vogler and are asking him to assist with taking down both crime bosses being their inside guy.  In compliance Vogler also learns that Martine was two timing with another identity and married to the other boss Racken.

So, yeah, this story is pretty crazy.  This is very much a whacky comedy folks, so I hope you’re not reading that synopsis and being like “this is stupid and ridiculous”, because its supposed to be.  It’s a very loose show that tends to rely on over the top and ridiculous violence for its laughs and outlandish performances

Max Williams plays Vogler and he is just one crazy looking guy.  He very much looks like the Joker without makeup.  His vocal performance is this wild German one that sounds like Bugs Bunny with a German accent.  His partner Karl Hagerman comes off a cross between Christian Bale’s Batman and Keanu Reeves.  The two crime bosses are played in fun cameo-like roles by Eddie Izzard and Eric Roberts, who enjoy chewing up the scenery with every chance they get.  The scene stealer every episode for me was Kate Kelton as Martine Mahler as she oozed with sexy and cool and was the only person sort of grounded in a show full of cartoon performances.

My favorite part of the show may have been the dynamic between Vogler and Hagerman.  Hagerman is pretty distraught about losing his partner, but is forced to pair with the man who killed him wearing his face.  It plays for some really cruel humor and Vogler relishes in a lot of it.  Neil Napier plays a super tough guy being a crybaby about it really well too.

Overall, I think Bullet In The Face was a rather solid show for its 6 episode run.  There’s a lot of zaniness and jokes flying at rapid speed and the show feels really loose, but I found myself onboard with it most of the time.  I think it would probably be better in much smaller, week by week, doses than the marathon session I did for this review.  Some of it gets to be a bit tired and a bit much after a while. But overall this is very much a live action cartoon and its pretty funny and fun at what it does.

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Episode List (all clock in at 22:33)

  • Meet Gunter Vogler
  • Angel Of Death
  • Drug Of Choice
  • Kiss me Thrice
  • The World Stage
  • Cradle To Grave

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All episodes clock in with a MPEG-2 encoding with a 1:78.1 frame.  This is pretty good for being what it is, a DVD.  There’s a fair amount of detail and some strong colors present although without a lot of the saturation you’d see on a Blu-ray.  I was impressed with the amount of detail you can make out on the actors’ skin, be it stubble, blemishes, freckles or wrinkles.

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Bullet In The Face gets right in your face with its 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround.  For a compressed audio track, this one pretty down clean and clear.  What I really liked is its use of my subwoofer.  Explosions, gunshots and songs get it kicking.  The dialogue is nice crisp and up front.  The track also has some fun with all 5 surround speakers as things do indeed make use of going left to right, front to back and well, you know.  Also provided is a 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo track that works pretty well, but the 5.1 option is clearly the king.

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The only thing available on this 1-disc release is a commentary track.

Commentary With Alan Spencer – Commentary for every episode with the show’s creator.

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Bullet In The Face is a solid, short-lived show that you can finished really in one quick sitting.  You don’t even need to get up to change discs as its all in one here.  What’s cool here is that every episode has a commentary track, making up for the lack of bonus material in other places.  Shout! Factory delivers a DVD with a solid video and great audio presentation for every individual episode.  If you’re a fan of Eddie Izzard or like cartoonish and outlandish live action comedy, then definitely give this series a spin in your player.



1 Response to “Bullet In The Face – The Complete Series (DVD Review)”

  1. Gerard Iribe

    Yeah, I heard about this one and LOVE Sledge Hammer – used to watch it weekly in the 80’s. This one is going in the queue. “Trust me, I know what I’m doing.”