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February 03, 2013

Bullet to the Head

Bullet-to-the-headAudiences drawn to a movie with such an obvious title as “Bullet to the Head” will get every line of cheesy dialogue, intelligence-defying plot-point, and trashy titillation they’re after in this foreshadowed misfire. The saddest part is that Walter Hill — the director behind such cinematic touchstones as “The Warriors” (1979) and “48 Hrs” (1982) — is exposed as a pale shadow of his former self.

The script version of Alexis Nolent’s graphic novel “Du plomb dans la tete” isn’t so much written as squeezed from an overripe pustule. Although Alessandro Camon ("The Messenger") is credited for the final product, other uncredtied writers put their muddy fingerprints all over the version we see up on the screen.

Sylvester Stallone barely breaks a sweat as New Orleans hitman Jimmy Bobo. Jimmy goes on the rampage after his assassin partner Louis (Jon Seda) gets offed by a blade-carrying thug (Jason Momoa) when the two men walk into the wrong bar after completing a bloody assignment. A zip-drive MacGuffin baits Jimmy and his newly introduced two-faced cop pal Detective Taylor Kwon (Sung Kang). An on-set acting coach could have helped Kang, whose performance is nothing short of excruciating. An extraneous subplot involving Jimmy’s tattoo-artist-daughter Lisa (Sarah Shahi) ebbs and flows as the story lurches through action predictable set pieces. The film’s cartoonish mano-y-mano battle sequence — involving axes — arrives as too little too late. You might think that the crime action genre would have evolved by now considering the great examples created by such visionaries as Quentin Tarantino and Luc Besson. But you’d be wrong.

Rated R. 91 mins. (D+) (One Star - out of five/no halves)

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