Just when you thought they didn't make action films like this any more... they did
Veteran director Walter Hill’s first feature film since Undisputed in 2002, Bullet to the Head sees career hitman Jimmy Bobo (Sylvester Stallone) and tech-savvy cop Taylor Kwon (Sung Sang) form an uneasy alliance in pursuit of the New Orleans goons responsible for the deaths of their partners. Cue plenty of punch-ups, bickering, explosions and plot holes.
This movie was a box office flop and it’s easy to see why: a buddy movie in the vein of Hill’s earlier 48 Hrs and Red Heat, it feels outdated compared to modern, hi-octane action fare.
However, Hill remains a master at orchestrating macho violence, the wise-cracking dialogue is fun and Jason Momoa (Game of Thrones' Khal Drogo) is utterly brilliant as the psychotic villain. Old-school and enjoyable.
Picture: Imagery here is workmanlike, with the Blu-ray’s AVC-1 1080p 1.85:1 picture tonally muted for much of the time with its dimly-lit interiors and numerous night sequences. And while noise isn’t a problem, the image just doesn’t feel especially crisp and sharp for Full HD.
However, Hill’s naturalistic cinematography means there are none of the overblown colours or crushed blacks that Hollywood is otherwise obsessed with. Better yet, there are no glaring technical issues such as edge enhancement or colour banding to be seen either.
Picture rating: 3.5/5
Audio: Bullet to the Head’s DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack is as predictable as the movie’s narrative, predominantly focused on the front soundstage with the surround channels employed primarily for background ambience.
Only a few sequences – such as Chapter 11’s shootout that places gunfire around the soundfield – will really stretch your AVR. However, there’s a good amount of weight given to the fisticuffs courtesy of the LFE channel.
The highlight, as with a lot of Hill’s output, is the score. Although frequent collaborator Ry Cooder is absent this time around, newcomer Steve Mazzaro delivers delightful blues and bluegrass-themed licks that sound sweet and stick in the mind.
Audio rating: 3.5/5
Extras: Entertainment One’s disc falls short here, with nothing more than a 9-minute Bullet to the Head: Mayhem Inc. featurette on offer.
This is standard EPK fare, constructed from interviews with Stallone, Hill, Sang, Momoa and others, but it does have a few interesting tidbits – including an alligator that waddled onto the set...
Extras rating: 1/5
We say: A reasonable hi-def debut for Walter Hill's fun, but unremarkable, '80s-style action movie throwback
Bullet to the Head, EnetertainmentOne, Region B BD, £20 Approx
HCC VERDICT: 3/5
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