Director: Walter Hill
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Sung Kang, Jason Momoa, Christian Slater, Sarah Shahi
Written by: Alessandro Camon and (based on the graphic novel Du plomb dans la tête) Alexis Nolent.
Running Time: 91 mins
Release date: 1st February 2013
There seems to be a bit of an 80s action movie revival going on at the moment. Last week,we had Arnie in The Last Stand; in a few weeks, Bruce Willis returns as John McClane in A Good Day To Die Hard and this week, the third Planet Hollywood member, Sylvester Stallone, is back and being directed by 80s action maestro Walter Hill. Only problem is, what was once fun and enjoyable has turned to tiresome and predictable.
New Orleans and hit man James Bonomo has just killed a former cop. While waiting for the payoff, his partner is murdered by fellow hit man, Keegan. Meanwhile, the ex cop’s own former partner, Taylor Kwon, arrives from Washington DC and is not given any help by the local law enforcement. Thrown together, Bonomo teams up with Kwon, both men not liking the idea and both with very different views as to how to track the killers. They soon discover that land is the key while Keegan is only a step away from getting them both.
With a plot that doesn’t rarely exists, this looks like a rag tag version of Hill’s former glory days. The man who gave us The Warriors, Southern Comfort and Driver, hasn’t been behind the camera since 2002 (not including the few TV movies he made in between) and has concentrated on producing. So having him back with a film of mismatched partnership would seem a walk in the park for him. He did direct one of the best, 48 Hrs. The trouble here is that he is hampered by a lack lustre script and he doesn’t know how to inject any energy from his two leads.
Stallone, whose lips seem to be getting closer to his nose, grunts and groans throughout the whole film, mumbling his lines as if he was too shy to share them with anyone else. Flashing his heavily tattooed, wrinkly muscled body, its just another by-the-book performance from Sly and as we have been here so many times before, you wonder why he even bothered to turn up.
As cop and reluctant partner, Kwon, Fast and Furious actor Sung Kang may have second billing but if he has any screen charisma, its sorely lacking here. Realizing that Stallone is the star, he seems to just sit back and not attempt to make his character interesting. He occasionally shouts at Sly for shooting first and asking questions later, while attempting to with the affections of Stallone’s daughter but its hardly igniting the screen with dynamics. Kang replaced the fired Thomas Jane. Would that have made much difference?
Only Conan star Jason Momoa seems to be of any interest as the baddies, Keegan and he seems to be the only person who realises that this stuff is utter fluff and gives it the respect it is due. Christian Slater (whatever happened to his career?) pops up in a few scenes and mugs alot.
There are a few moments when Hill produces some of his earlier magic. The final showdown between Stallone and Momoa is moderately exciting but by then it’s too little too late. When these type of films were popular and the stars a little younger, they were filled with snappy one-liners and although the violence was there, they were never this brutal. Every person shot has to be shot in the head. There’s a scene in which we are in a mortuary and a body has its skin pulled back. Necessary? Not really.
So two down and now all hopes rests on Willis’s shoulders to deliver the action film we all want to see with the new Die Hard. Till then, best dig out some classics from the 80s and 90s and rejoice in a time of fun, excitement, big hair and totally disposable popcorn nonsense because, quite frankly, you won’t find it here. All the boxes are ticked but that’s about all.