From its tongue-in-cheek title to its choice of star, the first movie in a decade from action vet Walter Hill (
) offers no pretensions: it’s unashamedly a brain-ejecting excuse to watch Sylvester Stallone shoot people in the face.
It’s a sell that delivers, but not without distracting problems.
Adapted from a French comic,
focuses on the unlikely partnership between grizzly hitman Jimmy Bobo (Stallone) and young, by-the-book detective, Taylor Kwon (Sung Kang).
They’re brought together to solve two murders; one soaked in the blood of Bobo’s underworld, the other that of Kwon’s corrupt establishment.
It’s a promising set-up, but one let down by a woeful lack of chemistry.
The limp, clichéd script deserves its share of the blame. Even so, Stallone is able to turn around clunky one-liners and meandering dialogue exchanges with self-aware panache and presence.
It’s Kang that’s the problem.
Dull, awkward and bafflingly charisma-free, he turns into a whiny, unsympathetic drip that sinks not only the dynamic, but very nearly the entire movie.
Next to Stallone, Kang may as well be made out of papier-mâché.
Keeping things afloat is Jason Momoa’s Keegan: an assassin who stirs a genuine sense of danger whenever he’s on screen.
His showdown with Bobo, fought with axes and pithy put-downs, is one of the few scenes where
nails its ludicrous tone – a tone that otherwise comes across as hammy or, with its cheesy skyline shots, unintentionally hilarious.
All well and good for harmless, brain-dead fun, but when it comes to the serious business of zoning out, there are better options.