A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Bullet to the Head is the first teaming of legendary action director Walter Hill and legendary action star Sylvester Stallone. The result is extremely violent in an over-the-top way, with wall-to-wall, extra-noisy, extra-bloody shooting, fighting, stabbing, and explosions. There's also nudity (mostly topless women) in a few scenes, and language is strong, with several uses of "f--k" and "s--t." Characters drink in bars, and a minor character snorts cocaine in one scene. Though the movie isn't realistic, it's still very intense overall and isn't recommended for anyone but the most mature teens and up.
What's the story?
Jimmy Bobo (Sylvester Stallone) and his partner, Louis (Jon Seda), are hit men working in New Orleans. After the pair pulls off their latest job -- killing a crooked ex-cop -- Louis is stabbed to death in a bar. New-in-town police detective Taylor Kwon (Sung Kang) believes there's a connection between the two bodies. He tracks Jimmy down and offers to work with him to find the men responsible for killing Louis. Unfortunately, the corruption goes up high, involving a deadly killer (Jason Momoa), a slick lawyer (Christian Slater), and an evil developer (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje). Things get even more personal when the bad guys kidnap Jimmy's pretty tattoo-artist daughter (Sarah Shahi). Can Jimmy and Taylor survive the inevitable, violent showdown?
Is it any good?
BULLET TO THE HEAD's strength is certainly not in the writing. Nothing in this story feels fresh, and it falls back on clumsy exposition, questionable morals, bad cross-cultural jokes, and general sloppiness. Director Walter Hill (The Warriors) is an old-school legend, a maker of rough-and-tumble, tough-guy action movies and genre pictures, usually involving cops, criminals, boxers, soldiers, and cowboys. In his first teaming with Stallone, the tone of the filmmaking comes to match that of the main character: jaded, grim, and ruthless.
Conversely, the movie's pleasures (for mature action aficionados, anyway) are purely visual: The violence is outrageous, extra noisy, and extra bloody. Wild parties are filled with crazy costumes, topless women, and heavy drinking, and characters come with tattoos and walking sticks. Fights take place in empty warehouses, bathhouses, and bars. Through it all, Hill knows exactly how to pace the movie for maximum visceral punch. It's a throwback to old-fashioned pulp filmmaking, and it works.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Bullet to the Head's violence. Does the fact that it's clearly over the top affect its impact? How would the movie have been different with less violence?
What's appealing about a hit man as a main character? How can we like or identify with someone who breaks the law and solves his problems with violence?
What stereotypes come up in the movie between the two main characters? How do the characters deal with them?
- In theaters: February 1, 2013
- On DVD or streaming: July 16, 2013
- Cast: Jason Momoa, Sung Kang, Sylvester Stallone
- Director: Walter Hill
- Studio: Warner Bros.
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Run time: 91 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong violence, bloody images, language, some nudity and brief drug use
For kids who love action
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.