Blu-ray Review: Bullet to the Head

Coming off the two successful Expendables films, action legend Sylvester Stallone teamed with producer Joel Silver (Lethal Weapon, Die Hard) and director Walter Hill (48 Hours, The Warriors) for Bullet to the Head, a film that opens with a CGI bullet fired directly at viewers as it blasts through the studio logos on its way to our brain. While Bullet to the Head is far from a great film, it certainly delivers on the killing and action that first shot seems to promise.

James “Jimmy Bibo” Bonomo (Stallone) is a Crescent City hit-man. Bobo has no faith in the American legal system, choosing instead to dole out his own brand of justice: a simple bullet to the head. As the film begins, Bobo and his partner Louis (Jon Seda) are carrying out a contract hit. After the kill, Bobo surprisingly lets a witness to the murder live, when he sees the tattoo of a puma on her back. From that moment, things begin to spiral out of control—his partner Louis is killed—and Bobo comes to realize that he’s being set up by the men that hired him.

Bullet to the HeadBobo is soon approached by Taylor Kwon (Sung Kang) a Washington D. C. detective who’s in town to investigate the death of his former partner; who just happens to be the guy Bobo killed that started this whole mess. Kwan is aware that Bobo carried out the hit, but offers him a deal that will allow the two men to work together and figure out what’s really going on. At first<Bobo, say no to the idea of working together, but quickly has a change of heart, saving Kwon from an assault in a parking garage.

Using contacts Bobo has in the underworld, Kwon makes a few calls and the two begin making their way up the ladder to find out who ordered the hit on Louis. Their investigation leads to corrupt cops, a slippery lawyer named Baptiste (Christian Slater) and politicians on the take. After some more digging, everything seems to point to an African immigrant named Morel (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) as the man at the center of everything.

Bullet to the Head isn’t the worst movie; just don’t expect to see anything new. Violent and action packed, the story is fast-paced, if predictable. The filmmakers do make nice use of the New Orleans locales and the ‘dirty’ look of things fits the story well. Unfortunately though, the script offers little to no character development. The relationship between Stallone’s character and Kang’s never really clicks, so instead of rooting for them on their mission we’re left just watching the stunts and action sequences, never really becoming invested in the story.

Bullet to the Head isn’t nearly as good as one might have hoped given the people involved, but it’s certainly a passable action movie for a rainy Saturday night.

Presented in the 1.78:1 aspect ratio, Warner’s 1080p transfer is pretty good. Not a particularly colorful film, grungy is the order of the day here. Detail is pretty good, but some scenes do look better than others. Close-ups look sharp and black levels are good, though shadow detail tends to fluctuate. For the most part, I think the film looks the way the filmmakers wanted it to look, which is a style that doesn’t always bring out the best in high definition.

Audio is offered via a DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio track. There’s a strong bass response that kicks in from the beginning. The score is lively and spread throughout the soundstage rather well, while dialogue is discernible throughout.

Optional closed captioning is provided in English with optional subtitles provided in Spanish.

The following special features are available.

  • Bullet to the Head: Mayhem Inc. (HD, 9:21) In this featurette that feels like an EPK, director Walter Hill and all the principal cast members give their thoughts on the film.
  • DVD Copy of the film.
  • UV Copy of the film.

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