(US - 2013)
Directed by Walter Hill. Written by Alessandro Camon. Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Sung Kang, Jason Momoa, Sarah Shahi, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Christian Slater, Jon Seda, Holt McCallany, Brian Van Holt, Weronika Rosati, Dane Rhodes. (R, 99 mins)
It's been eleven years since the words "A Walter Hill Film" appeared on the big screen in a new theatrical release, and the lean, mean, bone-cracking, head-splattering BULLET TO THE HEAD finds the man still in fine form. Hill first gained notoriety as a screenwriter, scripting Sam Peckinpah's THE GETAWAY (1972) among others before making his directing debut with the Depression-era bare-knuckle brawling classic HARD TIMES (1975). Numerous box-office hits and enduring movies-for-guys favorites followed: THE DRIVER (1978), THE WARRIORS (1979), THE LONG RIDERS (1980), SOUTHERN COMFORT (1981), 48 HRS (1982), STREETS OF FIRE (1984), EXTREME PREJUDICE (1987), RED HEAT (1988), JOHNNY HANDSOME (1989), ANOTHER 48 HRS (1990), TRESPASS (1992), GERONIMO: AN AMERICAN LEGEND (1993), WILD BILL (1995), LAST MAN STANDING (1997), and UNDISPUTED (2002). He co-produced the ALIEN films and the HBO series DEADWOOD, and also directed the cable TV mini-series BROKEN TRAIL (2006). He's been away for some time, and despite talk of behind-the-scenes friction with star Sylvester Stallone and a release date that was delayed multiple times (this was shot two years ago, and was completed before Stallone made THE EXPENDABLES 2), BULLET TO THE HEAD fits perfectly into the mold of what one expects from A Walter Hill Film, though it's hard telling if there's much mainstream multiplex interest in an action film starring a 66-year-old Stallone being directed by a 72-year-old Hill. This match-up really isn't that much different from all of those late '80s Cannon action movies starring a pushing-70-year-old Charles Bronson being directed by 75-year-old J. Lee Thompson. Stallone and Hill are older and obviously past their heyday, but they still have it. But after the catastrophic tanking of Arnold Schwarzenegger's THE LAST STAND, does anyone under the age of 40 really care? And will everyone over the age of 40 just wait for DVD/Blu-ray or VOD? It's as much of a question of an aging star's bankability as it is the changing landscape of film distribution.
To the abandoned factory for an axe fight!
48 HRS) to the bluesy, guitar-driven, Ry Cooder-esque score by Steve Mazzaro, to the intense action sequences, BULLET TO THE HEAD (based on the French graphic novel Du Plomb dans la Tete) frequently feels like a Walter Hill greatest hits package, and while it breaks no new ground, it's a nice thing to see in 2013.
|Walter Hill directing Stallone|