Bullet to the Head (2013)

BullettotheHead_1Starring Sylvester Stallone, Sung Kang, Sarah Shahi, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Jason Momoa, Christian Slater, Jon Seda, Holt McCallany, Brian Van Holt, Weronika Rosati, Dane Rhodes, Marcus Lyle Brown

Directed by Walter Hill

Expectations: Moderate and hopeful.

twohalfstar


Bullet to the Head is a film that many will likely hate. Its story is convoluted and dumb, it’s needlessly gratuitous in its violence, and it looks more like an episode of a crime-themed TV show than a movie. But despite the odds stacked against it, Bullet to the Head succeeds by blunt force. This is far from being a good, well-made film, but it’s entertaining in all the right ways as long as you’re able to get into its groove. If nothing else, it should be impressive that Stallone is able to hold his own on-screen at 67 years old against people half his age.

Bullet to the Head opens with a hit. James Bonomo (Sylvester Stallone) and his partner bust into a posh hotel room and quickly dispatch of the man inside. For reasons unexplained, James does not take out the sole witness to their crime, a woman hiding in the shower. When they go to get paid they find that the job was a set-up, as another hitman (Jason Momoa) kills James’s partner and almost does the same to James. Meanwhile, Taylor (Sung Kang), a cop from Washington DC travels to New Orleans to investigate the murder of his ex-partner (AKA the man killed in the opening hit). But while the New Orleans Police Department is standing in his way, Taylor finds an unlikely partner in James.

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Young Guns II (1990)

Starring Emilio Estevez, Kiefer Sutherland, Lou Diamond Phillips, Christian Slater, William Petersen, Alan Ruck, R.D. Call, James Coburn, Balthazar Getty, Jack Kehoe, Robert Knepper, Tom Kurlander, Viggo Mortensen

Directed by Geoff Murphy

Expectations: Low. I’ve seen this one before and did not enjoy it. Same as the first.


I love a good western. I don’t watch nearly as many of them as I used to, but my love for them has not diminished one bit. Young Guns did nothing to scratch my western itch, and while its sequel gets a lot closer, it’s just shy of providing anything of real value or entertainment to me. I think the key here is that the target audience for the Young Guns franchise is female, and when my girlfriend remarked after one of my many sighs, “You don’t like all the drama,” I knew that she was onto something solid.

By casting all the young heartthrobs of the day, you’ve already got the female audience’s interest piqued, but Young Guns goes the extra mile and makes the focus of the movie the drama that transpires between the members of the group. There’s no real heroics or impressive vigilante action to be found in this series (things that a male audience would generally respond to), and I think this is a major reason why I just can’t connect with the Young Guns films. In this way, Young Guns isn’t so much a western as it is a teen movie using a western backdrop, kind of like Inglourious Basterds is a spaghetti western that uses WWII iconography instead of the traditional guns and horses.

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