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Bullet To The Head (Blu-ray Review)

Bullet-To-The-HeadThis past winter, America witnessed a resurgence of the classic action genre from the 80s and 90s.  In January and February, mainstays Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis and Jason Stathom all had new releases within weeks of each other.  To top it off, in March Olympus Has Fallen (a “Die Hard in the White House” movie) was released.  Most of these films failed to make a dent and tanked or fell below expectations financially (at least domestically).  This review is about Stallone’s film Bullet To The Head.  Stallone had begun his comeback back in 2006 with Rocky Balboa.  He followed it with Rambo and 2 Expendables films which were sold on being the ultimate team-up films.  Bullet To The Head features Stallone’s first foray away from franchise action pictures and “on his own” in a long time.

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Film 

Bullet To The Head has Stallone playing Jimmy Bonomo, an aging veteran hitman operating in Louisiana.  One night after a hit, his partner is assassinated and an attempt made on his life as well.  Coming to investigate the scene is DC Cop Taylor Kwon (Sung Kang) to hopefully find a bit more and use Bonomo as an inside source.  Both soon find the corruption revolving around them runs deep.  The two must team together to piece together and take out the players before they are stopped dead in their tracks.

This grungy action picture is a very hit and miss effort.  There’s times where you can just sit back and enjoy it as a trashy action picture throwback.  But, in equal that time, you could almost have called this film Boredom To The Head.  There is a lot of screen time focused on “banter” or interplay between Sung Kang and Sylvester Stallone while driving in a car.  The two don’t have much chemistry so that doesn’t help at all.  Once the two meet, it almost rotates between action scene and car scene.  The car scenes are full of exposition and cheats to figure out the next clue.  They’ll retrieve info, Sung Kang will call it in, he gets the answer, then he and Stallone will discuss their differences in handling the situation/Bonomo’s history/make jokes (and the jokes aren’t funny).  Now repeat that every time you’re just getting into the movie.

Sung Kang whom I’ve loved in the Fast & Furious films, is unfortunately given a poor part on paper.  His character is primarily there to make Stallone look awesome, deliver exposition and provide easy problem solving methods.  He comes across as rather pathetic and a big pushover.  I was really looking forward to seeing him in this film and it was quite a disappointment.  Not his fault though.

The film’s action is pretty hard charged.  And for 65 years of age, Stallone looks quite believable doing it.  There’s some creativity to each scene, trying its best not to be just a generic shootout.  However, if they really wanted to throwback, they would’ve crutched themselves less on the CGI gore.  There’s a lot of it and a lot of the time it looks a bit fake.  Just the slight tinkering of making the effects in this film more practical might have made the film just a little more enjoyable.

Bullet To The Head certainly wasn’t the worst of the action guy movies this past winter, but its not the best either.  This film really feels just a hair off from being straight-to-video territory with all its CGI blood effects and so many car-talking scenes.  If you’re a fan of these types of films, you’ll probably find it somewhat ok.  It’s hard to say it’s not entertaining, but it’s hard to completely recommend it to someone either.

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Video 

As hit and miss as the movie is, the 1080p MPEG-4 AVC encoding matches it.  The 1.85:1 frame is bad at times and very good at others.  It’s pretty inconsistent.  There are times where the film looks like a restored film from the 90s.  During other times, it’s really good modern day high quality.  There were moments where the picture was ugly and just a really poor display.  The one thing consistent throughout was when it was dark, this movie was REALLY dark.  It was very hard to see and make out any sort of detail that wasn’t the two characters onscreen when scenes were taking place primarily outside at night.  The picture does serve the grungy, dirty nature of the story well, but it’s pretty weak for a modern release.

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Audio 

Bullet To The Head’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio comes blasting through your surround sound the second you hit ‘play’.  It is the highlight of the release.  This is a loud audio track and takes full advantage of your speakers.  There is very good interplay from left to right and front to back.  Scenes in bars, clubs and parties make you feel a part of the action.  Vocals do not get lost in the foley or the score.  Your subwoofer will be kicking hard with gun shots and bomb blasts.  This film’s audio mix is a real plus for this release.

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Extras 

Bullet To The Head: Mayhem Inc. (9:21) – A promotional/behind the scenes look at the film.  Features cast and crew interviews and insight into the story and characters.  It’s a real treat to see that Christian Slater might’ve been the only person to know exactly what kind of movie he was getting into.  And take a drink every time Jason Momoa mentions he played Conan once.

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Summary 

Warner Bros releases Bullet To The Head with a tremendous 5.1 track and some middling video.  There’s a short insight to the film provided, but that might be all that’s necessary for this one.  The film itself is that enjoyable kind of trashy action film that you might find the time for one night.  It’d probably make a solid first movie in an action-double feature night.  It doesn’t restore any of that feeling of the glory days, nor does it evolve it or pave the way for a new generation of these films.  I can’t highly recommend the film to anyone but Stallone and action fans, but I can’t say I wasn’t entertained for most of the way either.  It is what it is and you know what you’re getting into with Bullet To The Head.


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Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

4 Responses to “Bullet To The Head (Blu-ray Review)”


  1. Aaron Neuwirth

    48 Hours: New Orleans Drift

  2. Brian White

    I agree with you 100% here: “However, if they really wanted to throwback, they would’ve crutched themselves less on the CGI gore. There’s a lot of it and a lot of the time it looks a bit fake. Just the slight tinkering of making the effects in this film more practical might have made the film just a little more enjoyable.”

    The CGI Blood Spray was God awful and kept me from enjoying this movie at all.

  3. Gerard Iribe

    At all, Brian? Really?

  4. Brian White

    At all G 🙁