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Film Review: Bullet to the Head

“You don’t just kill a guy like that!”
“I just did.”

These two lines, the latter delivered by Sylvester Stallone in his typical wooden way, really sum up this film: a lot of violence, not a whole lot of plot, but kind of fun in a B-movie way. Based on a French comic book, Stallone plays Jimmy Bobo, a bad-ass professional hitman with about 2 braincells but the reflexes of a cat. When his boss decides (for some reason which, if explained, I have forgotten) to send a hitman after him, succeeding only in taking out his partner, a blood-thirsty revenge ensues.

Bobo forms an uneasy alliance with an out-of-town federal policeman, and they go after the man at the top. Of course, because it wasn’t personal enough already, his daughter gets kidnapped along the way and so he has to save her as well as taking out the baddies. (Off topic, but is there ever a movie like this where the daughter doesn’t get kidnapped? Could we not make it the other way round for once, just to spice things up: he gets kidnapped, daughter rescues him? But I digress…)

The over-the-top violence and slightly twisted New Orleans world makes sense when you know about the comic-book origins. To my mind, the film would have done better if it had been shot in a a somewhat more stylised manner as well, a la Sin City. Embracing its B-movie inspirations would have made it more of a glorious pastiche, but instead we were left with a sub-standard action film with some wooden acting. Enjoyable enough on a Sunday night, but, like a bullet to the head, unlikely to be something you will experience twice.