Sly muscles in for rocky return
Last week, Arnold Schwarzenegger returned to the big screen with a bang. His muscle-bound rival, Sylvester Stallone (pictured) attempts the same feat in Walter Hill's ham-handed thriller. Based on a graphic novel, this is testosterone-fuelled tosh that allows the 66-year-old leading man to play to his strengths: grimace, flex his muscles and growl one-liners without a flicker of emotion.
The explosions and splatter promised by the title are disappointingly thin on the ground, leaving us wanting far more than either Hill or screenwriter Alessandro Camon deliver.
The narrative is flimsy and the characters are poorly sketched, so there is no compelling reason to invest emotions in Stallone's tortured hero as he embarks on his suicidal crusade for vengeance.
"Here's the story – this is the way it went down,'' confides tattooed hitman Jimmy Bobo (Stallone) before he and partner Louis Blanchard (Jon Seda) kill a corrupt ex-cop as instructed.
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They celebrate in a New Orleans bar where hulking assassin Keegan (Jason Momoa) attacks Louis and Jimmy in a bathroom brawl. Hungry for revenge, Jimmy tracks down people in the criminal food chain who could have betrayed them.
All paths seem to lead to a property developer, Robert Nkomo Borel.
Meanwhile, detective Taylor Kwon (Sung Kang), who is out of his Washington DC jurisdiction, arrives to collar Jimmy. The two men are forced to work together when Jimmy's daughter Lisa (Sarah Shahi) is abducted by Keegan and held hostage in a warehouse that provides the film with a familiar setting for the showdown.
Bullet To The Head splutters and wheezes through 91 uninspired minutes, putting Stallone through the physical wringer in well-choreographed skirmishes.
A couple of one-liners elicit a wry smile, but most of the dialogue falls flat and the final act falters.