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Business as usual, for a vintage action star

11:10 PM Jun 01, 2019 | Free Press Journal Correspondant

Like vintage wine, the redoubtable Mr Stallone never bores. Rather, Rambo, sorry, Stallone continues to entertain us with his brand of dishum-dishum even when he’s playing the hang dog hitman in this entirely predictable actioner adapted from a French graphic novel (Alexis Nolent’s Du Plomb Dans La Tete.)

Film: Bullet to the Head,

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Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Christian Slater, Sung Kang, Jason Momoa, Sarah Shahi, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Jon Seda

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Director: Walter Hill

The tongue-firmly-in-cheek title of this movie, the first in a decade from action vet Walter Hill (48 Hrs) gives a hint of what’s to come. And expectations are not belied in this implausible story about an unlikely alliance between a young cop and an ageing assassin.

Stallone is craggy, cocky James (Jimmy) Bobo a New Orleans hitman who turns up, in deus ex machina mode to save ineffectual New York City detective, Taylor Kwon (Sung Kang) who needless to say, gets to show some pluck towards the end of the film.

By this time, they’ve solved two major problems; one pertaining to the underworld, the other to the corrupt Establishment, namely, corrupt cops, corrupt politicians, corrupt businessmen, corrupt law-yers (you get the drift) who are listed on a justly coveted pen drive that everyone, well almost, want to possess. As you can note then, the story is just so. The partnership is not so. Devoid of the synergy seen in buddy actioners like Lethal Weapon, Bad Boys, 48 Hours and Rush Hour, Bullet to the Head is saved by the fights and an edgy rock score.

From the supporting cast, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Eko from J.J. Abrams’s Lost) is limp and does not convince as the wheel chair bound bad guy.  I half expected Jason Momoa’s Keegan to fling him into the river (like ‘Leon Kilnghoffer, the American Jew who was thrown overboard from a cruise ship, in his wheelchair by Palestinian terrorists). The tall, massively muscled Keegan is outstanding as a baddie and his face-off with Bobo, fought with fists, axes and snarky interjections (mostly delivered by Stallone) is one of the best fights I’ve seen on film.

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