The Netflix preview image for Bullet to the Head features Sylvester Stallone and Jason Momoa swinging wildly at one another in a one-on-one axe fight. This image promises a much more entertaining movie. On the other hand, an action movie starring Stallone in 2012 could have been a lot worse.
Stallone’s career has some definite peaks and troughs. Coming off the brilliant surprise Rocky Balboa and the crowd-pleasing Rambo, he launched into the remarkably unremarkable Expendables and Expendables 2. Following the latter up with an action movie called ‘Bullet to the Head’ didn’t inspire much confidence, and neither the reviews nor the box office receipts did it any favours.
It ended up being Stallone’s worst opening weekend gross in 32 years, failing to make up half of its $40 million budget. But while this is by no means a top tier Walter Hill project, or a top tier Stallone film, many of its apparent failures seem to me to be a deliberate evasion of the tropes of the buddy cop sub-genre. Continue reading →