Bullet to the Head (2012)


When I Want Your Opinion, I Will Buy You a Brain.

Bullet to the Head (2012)I had a vague attraction to today’s movie for no reason other than the fact that I like some good cheese on occasion.  That’s really all this movie seemed to be to me.  I was aware of the movie’s arrival to RedBox long before I ever felt the urge to rent it because I would have to be in the mood for some cheesy action.  And then my friend Francisco requested that I review the movie.  Now I had slightly more motivation.  When his name came up on my list, I got myself to a RedBox so that I could finally review Bullet to the Head, based on the French graphic novel Du Plomb Dans La Tete by Alexis Nolent, written by Alessandro Camon, directed by Walter Hill, and starring Sylvester Stallone, Sung Kang, Jason Momoa, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Sarah Shahi, Christian Slater, and Jon Seda.

Two hitmen – James Jimmy “Bobo” Bonomo (Sylvester Stallone) and Louis Blanchard (Jon Seda) – kill a corrupt cop and he cokes it up with a prostitute, who Jimmy Bobo leaves alive.  Shortly afterwards, Louis is killed by another hitman named Keegan (Jason Momoa).  Detective Taylor Kwon (Sung Kang) arrives and starts investigating the murder and puts together that Blanchard and Jimmy Bobo killed the cop.  Kwon confronts Jimmy Bobo and is later attacked by corrupt cops, owned by Keegan and Jimmy Bobo’s employer Robert Morel (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), but Jimmy Bobo rescues him, taking him to his daughter Lisa’s (Sarah Shahi) tattoo parlor to get treated for his injuries.  Reluctantly, Kwon and Jimmy Bobo team up to reach the bottom of the situation.

I got bored even typing the summary of this thing!  This was a really lackluster movie.  It was basically what I expected it would be, but not nearly as fun and campy as most of the cheese Stallone takes part in.  It was just really bleh.  The story came across as really lazy to me.  It was like playing Diablo, a game that knows that no one cares about the story they just like collecting things in dungeons.  Go from point A to point B, learn something new, continue to point C.  Eventually you have won, and you’ve repaired your relationship with your daughter by the end.  But this game never wins, and you never collect anything from the dungeon.  It’s like there wasn’t a dungeon at all!  Anyway, back to my review of Diablo 3 … wait …  Bullet to the Head!  That’s right!  It’s not very good.  The dialogue was also pretty weak and deflating.  I harken back to the moment when they said, “Let’s go take a bath,” when going to the bathhouse.  Really?  That’s not a thing two dudes typically say to each other outside of the Castro district.  They also use their dialogue to express the characters emotions, probably because the actors weren’t really able to convey it with their performances.  Characters will just proclaim out loud that they’re bummed they didn’t kill Keegan when he had the chance.  I can assume that much, Sly.  And then the dialogue didn’t even get things right, like when they proclaimed that Blanchard’s heart was punctured when he was stabbed.  He was stabbed in the side!  That’s not how anatomy works.  I’ll allow a punctured lung at best!  And since we’re talking about the violence, what can usually sell a movie like this is having some decent action.  This movie didn’t bother with that.  Almost all of the action was as simple as one dude shooting another dude until the final fight with Keegan (which was decent).  That’s not very interesting to me.  Especially since even the most cannon fodder of enemies took an entire clip to take down for some reason.  I guess they decided that, since all they were doing was shooting people, they might as well amp that up by doubling down on the bullets.

No surprise here, but the performances were entirely whelming.  Not over or underwhelming; just whelming.  That’s apparently a word (or at least Microsoft Word doesn’t have a problem with it), so don’t say I never taught you anything.  One thing I didn’t teach you is that Stallone is not the most impressive of actors.  It’s also not the best idea to make someone who is renowned for being hard to understand the narrator of your movie.  He also didn’t seem that interested in participating in the movie, but I couldn’t say that I blamed him for that.  Sung Kang didn’t do anything I was altogether fond of.  He mainly seemed like the whiny partner through most of the movie.  Sarah Shahi impressed me with hotness, but not much else.  I also find myself inexplicably fond of Jason Momoa.  I didn’t like him when I was introduced to him in the Conan piece of crap, but I did like him a lot in Game of Thrones.  So that’s a thing.  Right?

The best I can say about Bullet to the Head is that it’s mediocre.  The story seems lazy and the dialogue is entirely unimpressive, and they don’t even bother to kick that up a notch with some good action until maybe the very end when they had already lost me.  There’s really nothing to this movie that can cause me to recommend you watch it.  It wouldn’t destroy you with its awfulness, but it may bore you to anger.  Bullet to the Head gets “I take out the trash!” out of “Bang.  Down.  Owned.”

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Young Guns II (1990)


I Shall Finish the Game.

Yesterday was bad times for me.  I got myself all set to have some fun reviewing a movie that was generally regarded as a classic western, only to be let down when it did nothing for me.  But there was a sequel to this movie that may fix it for me.  Unfortunately, Rotten Tomatoes claims this movie is even worse than the first movie.  …Damnit.  Well, Chris requested the first one, and I already own the second one, so I’m going to do it anyway.  And that’s how I came to review Young Guns II, written by John Fusco, directed by Geoff Murphy, and starring Emilio Estevez, William Petersen, Kiefer Sutherland, Lou Diamond Phillips, Christian Slater, Alan Ruck, Viggo Mortensen, R. D. Call, James Cobern, Balthazar Getty, Ginger Lynn Allen, Scott Wilson, and Tracey Walter.

An old guy named Brushy Bill Roberts tells an attorney that he would like to get the pardon that was promised to him when he was younger, back when he was known as William H. Bonney, or Billy the Kid (Emilio Estevez).  We jump into an hour and a half long flashback that starts with Billy after the dissolution of the Regulators, now working with “Arkansas” Dave Rudabaugh (Christian Slater) and Pat Garrett (William Petersen).  Billy agrees to meet with Governor Lew Wallace (Scott Wilson), and then agrees to testify against the Murphy faction from the first movie to receive a pardon, but soon finds that it was just a trick to arrest him.  While escaping, he finds that his old partners in the Regulators, Doc Scurlock (Kiefer Sutherland) and Jose Chavez y Chavez (Lou Diamond Phillips) were also captured, so he saves them as well.  His gang decides it’s time to head to Mexico to escape their troubles, but without Pat Garrett, who takes a job as Lincoln County Sheriff to hunt down Billy and kill him for $1000.

This movie actually worked out a little bit better for me.  I still wouldn’t call it a great movie, but it was more fun and much more enjoyable than the movie that came before it.  It was more fun this go around, but still a completely confused story.  They still weren’t able to keep on any coherent story.  Billy gets arrested, reunites with his friends, tries to go to Mexico, changes his mind, gets arrested again, escapes again, and the story goes on like this.  What sets this story apart from the first movie is that it was a little more fun to watch.  The action was realized in a better way that made them more exciting.  The emotional scenes were also allowed to have the weight to mean something to us.  What an interesting idea to let emotional scenes have some weight!  This would come mostly from Billy’s growing feelings that his time as an outlaw was coming to an end, his feelings of betrayal from what Pat Garrett was doing, and the loss of some of his friends.  But the new director of this movie knew how to film and cut this so that it would work for the audience.  I was also a fan of the bookending with Billy as an old man telling the story to the attorney, and even more of a fan of the fact that they didn’t overdo it.  The dialogue was also greatly improved for this movie.  The only thing I kept thinking while watching the first movie was that I thought Billy was supposed to say, “I’ll make you famous,” at some point, and it never came.  That’s because it was in this movie.

The performances were relatively unchanged as the actors were relatively unchanged.  Emilio Estevez still played Billy like he really enjoyed his own company, regardless of the relatively low percentage of funny things that were coming out of his mouth.  But that being the character he was going for, I can’t criticize it.  I still liked Lou Diamond Phillips the most because his character was the most awesome.  Dude takes a giant knife through the forearm and doesn’t even flinch!  Kiefer Sutherland replaced his lame moments of lovey-doveyness with being a bit of a complainer.  I had no issues with William Petersen as Pat Garrett, but I did take issue with Christian Slater as “Arkansas” Dave Rudabaugh.  Why would anyone ever let this guy on their team?  He was always acting like he was running the team or doing something horrible to piss off someone on the team, specifically Chavez.  He was a pretty irritating and unnecessary addition to the team.

Young Guns II had similar story problems to its predecessor, but was able to infuse a little more fun and enjoyment into the movie to help me see more of how people might actually like this movie.  I still wouldn’t say that I loved the movie as it seems some people do with the Young Guns movies, but it was okay, and far superior to first movie.  If you’re going to watch one, make it this one.  Young Guns II gets “I’ll make you famous” out of “When troubles come, they come not single spies but in battalions.”

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