As big a fan of action movies (and Stallone in general) it seemed odd to me that I somehow managed to missed this movie when it hit theaters. The trailers seemed mildly interesting, to say the least, and while it sure didn’t paint a picture of ‘high cinema’ it looked as though it could be some simple and mindless fun….That’s partly correct.
Bullet to the Head is a revenge/action flick in it’s purest form, and feels like a movie that was ripped straight out of the early 90s. This can be both good and bad, but on the whole, it generally feels confused. It brings in a simplistic plot line, riddled with cliches, but also brings in the ridiculous over the top action sequences that waved bye-bye to believability (which is a good thing in this instance). Hell, even the editing style and the way the film was cut together feels reminiscent of those older 90s movies.
These things together aren’t necessarily a horrible thing, they’re essentially the life-blood of brainless action movies. The problem, however, comes when the film tries to break past this genre. There are attempts at characterization in the film, going beyond their archetypes, but they’re so at odds with the cheesy parts of the movie, as to feel entirely out of place. It makes the film feel like it’s having an identity crisis, and unable to fully embrace either style of film it’s going for.
Despite the cheese and cliches, I honestly feel, if they had fully accepted it’s lot in life as a pure entertainment film, rather than try and blend in more dramatic elements, it would have been far more successful as a film. Because it didn’t, the cheesy parts come off more as wooden acting, and poor script-writing.
The action parts (for which there are plenty) are truly this film’s saving grace, and despite feeling like carbon copies of action moments in other films, manage to still be fun and enjoyable to watch. It’s hard to not grin while watching Stallone and Jason Momoa square off in a totally ridiculous ax battle. These are the moments where you can forget about all that’s wrong with the movie and simply enjoy it for what it is.
The blu-ray transfer of the film looks solid…for better or worse. While the quality of the film is good, the movie itself doesn’t take much advantage of it. The color palette is generally bland and uninspired, using a lot of earth tones or dark colors. There’s no visual flair in the film that makes the video quality really stand out and demand to be noticed.
So while the film most certainly looks good on your TV screen, there’s nothing remarkable about it either. It’s not exactly a blu-ray you’ll pop in to make your friends jealous about your home theater setup.
What the blu-ray does best, however, is the sound. The lossless sound quality really helps to make the action scenes pop. The film isn’t designed to be quiet….I can’t think of any Sylvester Stallone film that is, and Bullet to the Head is no different. To that end, the audio quality via the blu-ray sounds as deep and actiony as it did in the theaters. Every bullet, punch, or ax handle sounds fantastic.
There’s only one special feature, and it’s a nine-minute long one that manages to be entertaining, but seems to have very little in common with the movie it’s attached to. It’s good, but seems completely pointless in context with the rest of the blu-ray. Other than that, there’s nothing. Seriously, it’s a very bare bones blu-ray set leaving much to be desired.
I mean it’s based off of a comic book (a French one), so why isn’t there any bonus material on that? Seems like some featurettes about the original source material would have been a no-brainer or even welcome addition to those who were fans of the graphic novel.
The Bottom Line
Bullet to the Head suffers from some serious identity crisis. It can’t decide whether to be serious or campy, and it winds up feeling oddly paced. The script is lacking, giving the actors very little to work with, and the blu-ray itself is severely lacking in features. While the action scenes are fun and the overall quality of the blu-ray transfer is excellent, it’s hard to see this as being worth more than a Saturday night rental.
Bullet to the Head (out now on blu-ray/DVD and digital) gets a 5 out of 10.