Bullet To The Head, is the new action film, from director Walter Hill. Hill has had an outstanding career in the world of action cinema, and beyond. Walter Hill is responsible for such classic films as The Warriors, 48 Hrs, Brewster’s Millions, Crossroads, Trespass and Last Man Standing. I would say that it would be safe for me to assume, that most of you have seen, and loved, at least one of those films. Bullet To The Head pairs Hill, with iconic action superstar, Sly Stallone. Say what you want about Stallone, but that man is built like a filthy Greek God, and is still one of the best physical actors in the business, at 65 years old. Teaming up with Stallone in this gritty, old school bullet fest, is Sung Kang, known for his role as Han in the last four Fast and Furious sequels. Stallone plays Jimmy Bobo, a weathered hitman, battling with a decision he made to leave a witness to his recent hit alive. When Jimmy and his partner, Louis(Jonn Seda) are double crossed, Louis is killed, and Jimmy sets out to find the person responsible, and end their life.
Hill, as he says himself, is known for buddy movies. Though, he refers to what he does as more of an anti-buddy movie. The main character the similar films he’s done, are far from buddies. They are conflicting personalities, who do not get along, thrust together due to consequence. This time around, Stallone joins forces with an unexpected character for his quest for revenge; a cop. Taylor Kwon(Sung Kang) is the next generation of detective. He’s not all about bullets and blood, he’s about technology and information. He has serious moral conflicts about the way Jimmy is conducting their search for the bad guy, but he also has his eye on the prize, to the point that he thinks he can use Jimmy to get what he wants, and deal with him later. An exuberant amount of battered and bloodied bodies hit the ground, in this gritty throwback to the action movies of cinema past.
When Bullet To The Head hit theaters, not only was it divisive among moviegoers, as well as critics, but it wasn’t exactly met with the financial success that most people assumed a box office draw like Sylvester Stallone is known for. With a budget estimated at fifty five million dollars, and an opening weekend take of under 5 million dollars, it seemed like Stallone, on his own anyway, wasn’t putting the same amount of asses in the seats as in the past. In all fairness, even the number one film of that week, Warm Bodies, only opened to a subtle 19 million. Even taking into consideration that ticket sales were down in general during that time period, to say that Bullet To The Head’s box office take was disappointing, would be a massive understatement. Arnold Schwarzenegger experienced a similar outcome to his big return to action in director Kim Jee-Woon’s The Last Stand. I suppose it’s possible that all of us that enjoy this time of filmmaking are dinosaurs, but I still find it shocking that Bullet To The Head was met with such a cold reception. This is the type of movie that people used to flock in droves to see at the theater.
Business aside, Bullet To The Head really is a fun ride. The production values are top-notch, save for a few noticeable instances of CGI blood splatter. Sometimes I don’t understand why why directors only utilize CGI blood for a portion of the film, and practical effects for the rest. I realize, I suppose, that some shots are just harder to get than others, but sometimes it makes for an uneven experience. I personally noticed the CGI, but I have a trained eye for such a thing. It doesn’t detract from the enjoyment of the film, and if you’re just a casual viewer, you probably won’t even notice it yourself. The video and audio quality of the disc are what you would expect from a new release film from Warner Brothers Studios. It looks and sound fantastic. Though, you really don’t have to worry about transfer issues with new release titles.
One of the reason the Expendables movies are so great on Blu Ray, is because of the wealth of extra features. When action movies are done right, it is quite a sight to behold, the behind-the-scenes action during the making of a film. There is nothing quite as jaw-dropping, as a titan of a physical actor, doing all of his own stunts. I was hoping for some more of that with the Blu Ray release of Bullet To The Head, but the extra features are quite lacking. There is a short behind-the-scenes featurette, that does feature some of the action choreography, and interviews with Hill, Stallone, Christian Slater and Sung Kang. It was interesting to see, but I wanted much more of it than existed. Beyond that minor complaint, the home video release of Bullet To The Head is highly recommended.
Own Bullet to the Head on Blu-ray Combo Pack and Digital Download, right now from Warner Brothers