The Expendables 2 opens in theaters today, and brings with it trailers for two upcoming movies that are keeping the male-pattern badness tradition alive (as Sylvester Stallone puts it). One is The Last Stand with Arnold Schwarzenegger (watch the trailer), and the other is Bullet to the Head, starring Sly as aging New Orleans hitman Jimmy Bobo, who’s out for revenge after his partner is murdered.
Jimmy gets an unexpected helping hand from New York cop Taylor Kwon (Sung Kang), whose own partner was killed by the same thugs. The two eventually form an uneasy alliance, as you can see from the Bullet to the Head trailer.
Bullet to the Head is based on Alexis Nolent’s graphic novel “Du Plomb Dans La Tete” (Headshot) from the mid-2000s, but the film adaptation has a pronounced 1980s buddy-cop vibe. You can chalk up part of that to Sly’s influence, but the main creative contributor responsible for that is co-writer/director Walter Hill – who was also behind such action-comedy titles as 48 Hours and Red Heat, which helped to define the mistmatched buddy sub-genre some 2-3 decades ago.
Thomas Jane (The Punisher) was originally eyed for Kang’s role, but was passed over when producer Joel Silver (Lethal Weapon) instead pushed for a multi-racial, multi-generational, pairing along the lines of Mel Gibson/Danny Glover and Eddie Murphy/Nick Nolte. That paved the way for most of the jokes featured in the Bullet to the Head trailer, such as when Jimmy makes a crack about Taylor pulling out some moves “from the homeland” – while the latter pokes fun at his partner’s outdated catch-phrases and musical preferences.
The trailer suggests Stallone’s Bullet to the Head plays with classic action movie tropes, but minus the enthusiasm and self-awareness that Schwarzenegger’s Last Stand embraces its existence as a throwback to machismo flicks from the 1990s with. Moreover, Sly is still up for grueling stunts and rigorous fight scenes (see: his axe duel with Jason Momoa), but doesn’t shy away from the occasional old man joke. That’s to say: Bullet to the Head might not go down as a “classic,” but it seems like decent entertainment.
Rounding out the cast of Bullet to the Head are such people as Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Christian Slater, Sarah Shahi (Fairly Legal), Brian Van Holt (Cougar Town), and Jon Seda (Treme). Scripting duties, as mentioned before, were handled by Hill, along with Alessandro Camon (The Messenger).
Bullet to the Head opens in U.S. theaters on February 1st, 2013.