Bullet To The Head review

Stallone cold killer

Why you can trust GamesRadar+ Our experts review games, movies and tech over countless hours, so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about our reviews policy.

From its tongue-in-cheek title to its choice of star, the first movie in a decade from action vet Walter Hill ( The Warriors , 48 Hrs ) 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, Bullet 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 Bullet 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.

More info

Available platformsMovie

Stephen is a freelance culture journalist specialising in TV and film. He writes regularly for the Guardian, the Daily Telegraph, the i, Radio Times, and WIRED.