Bullet to the Head
Tagline: Revenge never gets old
Much like the actors in Stand Up Guys, the star and director of Bullet to the Head – Sylvester Stallone and Walter Hill, respectively – have never worked together before, even if their best-known work took place over the same time period in the 1970s and ’80s. In fact, Hill wanted Stallone’s services on 48 Hrs. and The Driver, but Sly passed on both occasions.
If you’ve been waiting for them to collaborate, wait no more. Adapted from a French comic book series, Bullet to the Head finds Stallone playing a middle-aged hitman called Jimmy Bobo – he’d fit right in as a Stand Up Guy – who decides, with the assistance of Taylor Kwan (Sung Kang, Fast & Furious) to avenge the murder of his partner.
These kinds of comeback/revenge films litter the later careers of once-dominant actors, and they tend to come in for a battering from critics. And once you read Empire‘s withering assessment that Bullet to the Head is “so thuddingly average that you might spend half of its running time wistfully thinking of what might have been and the other half giving thanks that it didn’t happen,” you fear the worst. But Variety doesn’t seem to have the same problem, noting that the film’s “chief pleasure lies in its store of funny lines, which Stallone tosses off with genuine brio.” And the Hollywood Reporter feels it’s a cut above Sly’s recent work: “We’re clearly in Expendables territory here, though unlike those rather drawn-out affairs, Hill keeps his movie lean and mean, cutting straight to the punchlines while administering violence in quick and crunching doses.”