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.