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Bullet to the Head [2012)

I’m in this one.  Just had to get that out of the way up front. 

For some reason I didn’t expect this film to be particularly great, but it is surprisingly awesome.  Credit director Walter Hill with coaxing an excellent performance out of the singularly talented Sylvester Stallone. 

My biggest beef with this flick is the editing.  It seems someone in the corporate hierarchy wanted the whole thing to resemble CSI:  Miami.  Not exactly my notion of cinema.  I suppose it was an effort to relate to audiences who live for their favorite TV shows.  Television mise-en-scène these days is generally deplorable…revolting…you get the picture. 

Aside from that one concession, this is a thoroughly enjoyable film.  Sure, Sung Kang is pretty stiff here and there in the delivery of his lines, but his character is generally an automaton anyway (until his redeeming moment near film’s end). 

Sarah Shahi is fantastic as Stallone’s daughter.  Stallone is excellent and droll throughout…like Charles Bronson or Humphrey Bogart.  His performance really is an astounding feat for someone his age. 

In closing, don’t expect a nouvelle vague masterpiece here.  You will be sorely disappointed.  But if you watch this with an open mind you might just end up agreeing with me that Walter Hill (like Guy Hamilton) is an overlooked auteur. 

-PD

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