Movie review: 'Bullet to the Head'

Oklahoman Modified: January 31, 2013 at 4:50 pm •  Published: February 1, 2013

Choppy and bordering on incoherent, “Bullet to the Head” is Sylvester Stallone's answer to Arnold Schwarzenegger's “The Last Stand,” an action exercise in “Here's how we used to do it.”

Sly one-ups Arnold in that old-school regard by bringing in Walter (“48 Hours”) Hill, king of action directors when Stallone was in his glory days — the 1980s.

But “Bullet” isn't remotely as direct as its title. It shows all the hallmarks of a movie that's been re-cut, that changed directors (Wayne Kramer started the film). Characters, relationships and motivations seem shortchanged. And it's every bit as dated and dumb, in different ways, as “The Last Stand.”

Still, Stallone brings the burly and the breezy to this turn as a New Orleans hit man teaming with a cop (Sung Kang) to track down the guys who set him up and got his partner killed.

Jimmy “Bobo” Bonomo (Stallone) has borrowed his “code” from the anti-hero of John Woo's “The Killer” — “No women, no kids.” A hit he carried out led to repercussions. A knife-wielding brute of a mercenary (Jason Momoa) killed his partner, and Jimmy has to do something.

So does this out-of-town cop. Sung Kang often finds work in the films of his pal, Justin Lin (the “Fast and Furious” movies). As Detective Kwon, he steps into the spotlight, and shrinks from it. It doesn't help that Jimmy and everybody else trot out the race card for the Korean-American cop.