By Kurt Jensen
Catholic News Service
NEW YORK (CNS) — The 90-minute killing spree that is "Bullet to the Head" (Warner Bros.) — with its banal dialogue and weak, stale story — offends on every possible level. But, above all, for its sheer pointless mayhem.
Director Walter Hill and screenwriter Alessandro Camon adapt a French series of graphic novels by Alexis Nolent called "Headshot." In doing so, they send the body count well into double digits and the boredom factor into overdrive.
There’s a Cajun-flavored comic-book plot built along the lines of the chop-socky genre. Thus, curved knives used for gutting fish are a favored weapon.
Sylvester Stallone plays hit man James "Jimmy Bobo" Bonomo, who grunts out such incisive one-liners as "Guns don’t kill people. Bullets kill people." He reluctantly teams up with police detective Taylor Kwon (Sung Kang) to fight mobsters.
Also in their sights is the seemingly invincible assassin Keegan (Jason Momoa), who killed their respective partners in Crescent City, La. — a barely fictional version of New Orleans.
The partners are aided by Bonomo’s tattoo-artist daughter Lisa (Sarah Shahi) as they confront corrupt lawyer Marcus Baptiste (Christian Slater) and mendacious property baron Robert Nkomo Morel (Adewale Akinnouye-Agbaje).
When he’s not too busy shooting or punching, Bonomo makes a wide array of racial remarks about Asians.
There are some other plot details, but the remaining cast is around only long enough to be killed. So it’s all lost in this fetid gumbo of gunfire and stabbing.
The film contains relentless violence, a vengeance theme, frequent upper female nudity, and pervasive rough, crude and crass language. The Catholic News Service classification is O — morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.
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Jensen is a guest reviewer for Catholic News Service.