Bullet to the Head is one of Sylvester Stallone's first films without his The Expendables pals. Given the lack of success of Arnold Schwarzenegger's The Last Stand, how does Sly's latest fare? Well, we loved Arnold's latest in our The Last Stand review, but can't quite muster the same enthusiasm in our Bullet to the Head review.
Stallone portrays some sort of hit man trolling the Bayou taking out people he tells himself that the world won't miss. We say "some sort" when describing his vocation because the film begins with an almost impossible to understand narration by the action superstar talking about how he does what he does and still is able to sleep at night.
He and his partner Louis (Jon Seda), dressed like Jules and Vincent from Quentin Tarantino's world that almost has you expecting they're going to break into Pulp Fiction quotes, enter a luxury hotel on a mission. Apparently, there's a bad cop with whom the duo have business.
Now, since the film has not established what exactly Stallone and his partner do, do not get confused when they sport police badges as they knock at the mystery man's hotel room. The man in question opens the door and promptly asks for a warrant. Stallone busts in and well... takes care of business.
Stallone and Seda then head to a New Orleans bar, we guess to get paid, it's never really established. Jason Momoa ruins the duo's evening, sending Stallone on a vengeance meets clear his name journey.
Clearly, as shown in the Bullet to the Head trailer, the movie is not one sees for the plot. The action sequences are solid, especially one involving a steamy spa fight where Stallone confronts Brian Van Holt's mid-level gangster.
Christian Slater is an on the wrong side of the tracks lawyer whose casting is actually perfect. Van Holt and Stallone's police sidekick Taylor Kwon (Sung Kang) are grossly underused.
Oh yeah, Stallone's hit man entangles with Kwon's police detective and the two have to become unlikely partners to help solve this crime and extolling of revenge effort. You can forgive Movie Fanatic for forgetting this major plot point, but it is so pushed to the back of our head because of Stallone's often-used racial slurs. Stallone routinely through the movie calls his Asian partner "Confucius" and worse. It is honestly hard to watch. Especially because Kang is Korean, not Chinese.
Where Schwarzenegger had an interesting plot in The Last Stand and executed the role, along with his co-stars, in an impeccable manner, Stallone simply feels like he's coasting in a movie he knows is below what he can bring his fan base. Will the lack of success of these men's movies of late curtail any plans for The Expendables 3? Not in the least.