Ah, old-school action flicks. Where men are manly, women exist only in various states of undress, and the hero can get away with all his misdeeds without any consequence whatsoever. That's the world of Bullet to the Head, the first film directed by Walter Hill since 2002's Undisputed. Based on the French graphic novel "Du Plomb Dans La Tete", it follows veteran hitman and New Orleans resident Jimmy Bobo (Stallone), who has been double-crossed by his anonymous employer and vows revenge. While he reluctantly teams up with Washington police Detective Taylor Kwon (Sung Kang), who is after the same people, there's no doubt that Jimmy's take-no-prisoners approach will grind against Kwon's law and order methodology. But while both are being targeted by a ruthless crime lord (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) and his sadistic enforcer (Jason Momoa), they must work together if they want any chance of getting out of this mess alive.
|I never want to see this image again...|
|This was all the work he could get after Conan...|
#7 for the year, not far removed from Bullet to the Head. In Parker, based on the book "Flashfire" by Donald Westlake, Statham plays the titular hero, an honest man in a dishonest business. He's a thief, one of the best, and when he is double crossed by his team after a successful heist he is left for dead on the side of a dirt road. But Parker recovers, swearing revenge on the men who wronged him, no matter what kind of criminal connections they may have. To succeed, he'll need the help of a financially-struggling real estate agent (Jennifer Lopez) who can help open the right doors in Palm Beach, the location of the traitorous Melander (Michael Chiklis) and his next job. The cash up for grabs? $75 million.
In a couple of ways, Taylor Hackford's Parker is a bit like Bullet to the Head, in that they're both headed by violent, unrepentant anti-heroes who have no problem killing those who wrong them. On top of that, each have out-of-their-element partners who really don't have a lot to do unless they're in the same scene as the protagonist. Jennifer Lopez for instance has little to do but be a sexy sidekick, and her presence only adds unneeded drama to an overly-simple story. You literally could have any person in this role for success, with only Lopez' supposedly-insured buttocks differentiating her from the typical Hollywood starlet. To be fair, she does do well in the "comedy relief" department, but then so do most third-rate actors. Still, the action is fiercer, the fights feel less forced, and overall people act exactly in the ways you might expect real people to behave. It's not a bad screenplay, even with its glaring flaws.
|Statham getting the ladies feels more natural...|
|Yup, it's "Clobberin' Time."|