He may be 66 years old, but guys half his age can’t even lay a finger on James Bonomo, aka Jimmy Bobo. Sylvester Stallone has shed the heavy artillery and muscle-bound crew from his role in The Expendables to play this lone hit man from New Orleans. The solid ensemble cast may be gone, but he continues to stand firm on his own.
Like the movie title suggests, you shouldn’t expect too much from the straightforward 90s action film set and plot. Thankfully, director Walter Hill has made sure to compensate for the lack of depth in the storyline with a shedload of muscle, most of which can be found on Stallone’s hard-bodied physique.
This film’s based on a graphic novel Du Plomb Dans La Tete, French translation of “lead in the head”, a work of French writer Matz’s, whose real name is Alexis Nolent.
Thomas Jane, best known for his portrayal of Carter Blake in Deep Blue Sea, was supposed to take on the role of the Detective who would work hand in hand with Bobo. However according to geektyrant, the role went to Sung Kang (of The Fast and the Furious [hyperlink] fame) because producer Joel Silver (Lethal Weapon) wanted a “more ethnic actor” to appeal to more people. Lethal Weapon was such a cult hit, is this one going to be Silver’s downfall?
The show kicks off with Bobo’s partner (Jon Seda) viciously cut up by the dexterous mercenary, Keegan played by Jason Momoa (Conan the Barbarian). Detective Taylor Kwon (Sung Kang) is then flown in from Los Angeles to crack the case.
The whole movie then revolves around Bobo’s thirst for revenge added on to Kwon’s resolution to mete out justice to the slayer. They decide to enlist the unlikely ally’s help to track down a common enemy.
Throw the blasé Bobo together with Kwon who’s wet behind the ears, and you have the almost exact replica of the aged Agent K and his protege Agent J from the Men In Black trilogy, minus the high-tech gadgets. This master-apprentice combination coupled with tongue-in-cheek banters allow the bromance between Bobo and Kwon to blossom on screen. This is definitely a breath of fresh air from usual action movie, like Tower Heist, The Losers or even the latest addition of the Resident Evil movie series that has four (of five) team members working together.
Having said that, you might think Kwon is the big kahuna of the 2 since he enlisted the help of the assassin. As the plot progresses, however, Bobo’s firm grasp of tricky situations and wide connections forces his Korean counterpart to let him take charge.
It was a little unbelievable that Kwon was naive enough to want to track a professional killer down by himself with nothing more than his trusty Blackberry and a pathetic pistol. Fortunately for him, the bruiser has him covered with his own impressive arsenal of firearms.
Everything escalates after Bobo pulls Kwon out of the trench by bringing the injured detective to a tattoo parlour owned by his daughter, Lisa Bonomo (Sarah Shahi), where his wound is treated by the curvaceous beauty.
Like the Bond Ladies in any of the Bond movies, Shahi’s role in the action flick is easy on the eyes since her allure (and partial nudity) gives the audience a breather from gripping shootouts, fiery explosions and testosterone-charged fist fights.
The plot twist just had Kwon discovering his superior was a mole working for the rogues and this twist was almost predictable and disappointing. A more thought-out twist would have made Bullet to the Head a cut above the rest.
Eventually, the film peaks, and here comes the spoiler: When Keegan, the last villain standing, throws aside his rifle and rips a pair of firefighter’s axes off the display on the wall. Gripping on tightly to his weapon, he then throws the other one to Bobo for a final showdown, in a bid to satisfy the long-awaited desire of killing him without any advantages.
All Bobo had to say was, “What are we? Vikings?” That was one of scriptwriter Alessandro Camon’s subtle but notable attempts to occasionally lighten up the seriousness of Stallone’s character. However, Stallone’s ever-melancholic face barely gave justice to one-liners like these.
But what an anticlimax: Kwon ends the fight with, can you believe it, a bullet to Keegan’s head. It would have been more satisfying to see Bobo finish Keegan off after that scuffling.
Adding on to that, there was too little bloodshed and we felt that it defeated the whole point of having axes in the first place. Perhaps the fight would’ve been more electrifying if the edge of the axe plunged into either one of their limbs. But at least this show had them wielding axes in the last struggle instead of joining the other thousands of movies that had cheesy endings with stars fighting with their bare fists.
Movie name: Bullet to the Head
Release Date: Jan 31
Duration: 92 min
Age rating: NC16 (Violence & Some Nudity)
Director: Walter Hill
Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Momoa, Sarah Sahi, Sung Kang