Most of the dialogue in Bullet to the Head
is as blunt as the title, but the gunfire and ax fights (!) are carried out with a sort of kinetic grace that betrays their makers' experience within the genre. Enjoyment of Walter Hill's first film in more than a decade is nonetheless largely predicated on agreeing with its tagline: “Revenge never gets old.” This is indeed an old story whose director and star have both been around the block several times before, but Hill and star Sylvester Stallone have put their experience within the genre to good use. The result is the kind of movie in which dudes drink whiskey straight from the bottle to dull the pain of amateur surgery, and callously offing baddies is more a matter of survival-of-the-fittest instinct than conscious decisionmaking. Sly is at his gruffest and most no-nonsense throughout, especially compared to the detective he partners with early on to take down a shared enemy in New Orleans. Though this partnership often strains credulity (especially when Sung Kang's cop just kind of hangs out as Stallone's Jimmy Bobo straight-up murders people), it does lead to Sly at one point saying, “Let's go take a bath.” Small victories, friends.