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"Bullet To The Head" Review

 After the tedium & vacuity of Killers of the Flower Moon, we needed something less pretentious and quick, so it was time to catch up on Bullet to the Head, the 2013 Sylvester Stallone-topped crime drama which also co-starred Sung Kang (Han from the Furry Fastness series), Jason Momoa (Broseidon), and Sarah Shahi (Sex/Life).

 Sly is Jimmy Bobo, a career criminal and hitman whom we meet with his partner, Louie (Jon Seda), as they pose as cops to gain entry to a New Orleans hotel room where they execute their target, Greely (Holt McCallany). While checking for witnesses, Jimmy finds a hooker in the bathroom, but doesn't kill her because he's a nice hitman. They go to a noisy bar to have a post-murder drink, but when Jimmy goes to the bathroom, Keegan (Momoa), fatally stabs Louie and almost gets Jimmy, but since we're only a few minutes into a 91-minute movie, he survives and Keegan gets away.

 At the police station, Washington D.C. detective Taylor Kwan (Kang) arrives and announces he's interested in the hotel killing because Greely was his former partner, a cop gone bad and fired, but still his ex-partner. He learns that Jimmy was a known associate of Louie, a suspect in the Greely's death, so goes after him.

Meanwhile, Keegan, at the behest of the shady developer Morel (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Mr. Eko on Lost) and his lawyer Baptiste (Christian Slater aka Young Jack Nicholson in everything), is dispatched to retrieve the blackmail dossier Greely had passed to a local mobster and the scene where he does so while killing at least a dozen guys is some John Wick-grade stuff.

As for Kwon, he finds out the hard way that the Crescent City's cops aren't that honest and ends up with a bullet in his.....shoulder. Rescued by Jimmy, he's taken to Jimmy's daughter Lisa (Shahi), who runs a tattoo parlor and thanks to a convenient year of med school, can also patch bullet wounds. After fixing him up Kwon reluctantly agrees to team up with Jimmy as he tries to find out who set him up and is trying to kill Kwon. Buddy cop movie hijinx ensue.

There's not much to discuss with a movie like Bullet in the Head. There's lots of violence and, you know, bullets in heads, and Sly wisecracks in an over-it mumble. Kwon isn't as cool as Han, but Kang does with it what he can. Shahi is hot. (Oink.) It's odd seeing Momoa as a clean-shaven babyface, but the missus likeyed.

Director Walter Hill (The Warriors, 48 Hrs., Streets of Fire) is an old hand at this hard-boiled tough guy buddy flick and he has a bit of 48 Hrs. bickering between Jimmy and Kwon and echoes the bonkers sledgehammer fight of Streets of Fire with a climatic fireman's axe duel between Jimmy and Keegan, but he's hamstrung by a fairly rote screenplay by Alessandro Camon, who I was genuinely surprised to see shared a Best Original Screenplay nomination for his previous film, 2009's The Messenger. (He works mostly as a producer.) There are few surprises and while entertaining enough, it's no John Wick.

 Bullet to the Head falls into the "something to watch when there's nothing else on" category, but considering the excessively long run times of today's prestige flicks - you could watch this almost FOUR times in the time it takes to watch Flowers of the Killer Moon and Leave The World Behind once each - it now falls into the desperately needed "movies that don't require a nap and a large coffee to get through in one sitting" category. 

Ultimately, it delivers what it says on the tin: Macho tough guy bluster and bullets to heads.

Score: 6/10. Catch it on cable.


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