Film review: ‘Bullet to the Head’
Wed, Jan 30, 2013 (4:12 p.m.)
Now in his 70s, director Walter Hill is a living treasure for fans of old-fashioned, crackerjack tough-guy action cinema. Grinding out stories about cops and criminals, boxers and cowboys, Hill has attracted an impressive array of action stars to his movies, but—until now—never Sylvester Stallone. Yet this belated meeting of kindred spirits in Bullet to the Head isn’t exactly joyous. Playing double-crossed New Orleans hitman James Bonomo, Stallone is like tattooed Teflon, jaded and ruthless, and Hill’s filmmaking matches that mood. Sung Kang co-stars as Hill’s typical out-of-towner, a Korean-American cop who joins forces with Sly to catch a rogue’s gallery filled with colorful baddies. Based on a French graphic novel, the screenplay falls back on exposition, annoying cross-cultural byplay and some spongy old chestnuts. It’s not exactly fresh material, but like an old warrior, it’s sturdy and diamond-hard in the thick of battle. Just like they used to make ’em.