Sunday, December 8, 2013
By RENE RODRIGUEZ McClatchy Newspapers
(Continued from page 1)
Sylvester Stallone in "Bullet to the Head."
Warner Bros. photos
Sarah Shahi and Sung Kang in director Walter Hill’s return to the buddy-cop genre.
"BULLET TO THE HEAD," starring Sylvester Stallone, Jason Momoa, Sung Kang, Christian Slater and Sarah Shahi. Directed by Walter Hill. Rated R for strong violence, bloody images, language, some nudity and brief drug use. Running time: 1:31
Although its tone is not as comedic as, say, "48 Hrs.," "Bullet to the Head" still mines humor from the odd-couple pairing of its two heroes. Also true to Hill's intent of paying homage to the 1980s buddy-cop genre is the movie's clean style and clearly choreographed action: The editing is as smooth and pleasurable as it was in the musical numbers of "Streets of Fire," which bombed in the summer of 1984 but has since garnered a passionate fan base.
"The endings of this kind of movie are, in a sense, a given," Hill says. "The fun is getting there. I think of the good guys and bad guys almost doing a little dance. These movies are all musicals, in a way. And also Westerns, of course, because the characters are forced to use violence when civility and traditional society don't work."
"Bullet to the Head," which cost a reported $55 million, isn't a guaranteed hit. "The Last Stand," which featured Arnold Schwarzenegger's first leading performance since leaving office, opened with an anemic $6 million weekend, and outside of the "Expendables" series, Stallone hasn't had a hit in years. The film also arrives in theaters nearly a year since its original release date, usually a sign of trouble.
But Hill isn't fretting about how the movie will fare or whether this was a temporary reprieve from Hollywood jail.
"There were several movies I tried to make over the last 10 years, but the financing evaporated," he says of his absence from the screen. "I think it's fair to say I'm not wildly in demand by the studios. The independent cinema that's beyond the studios is usually perceived to be a young person's game. I did a miniseries, shot a couple of TV pilots, tried to keep my hand in things. But most directors don't work much once they're past 60. Now I'm not so sure. There are exceptions, but very few. I never officially quit. But I worked very hard in the 1980s and '90s, we have two daughters and I wanted to be closer to my family. I'm just not pushing nearly as hard anymore."
click image to enlarge
Christian Slater, left, and Sylvester Stallone square off in “Bullet to the Head.”