December 8, 2017 Bullet Head (Movie Review)
Set for release in theaters and On Demand December 8, 2017 through Saban Films and Lionsgate, Paul Solet’s Bullet Head is a gritty, whip-smart Crime Thriller featuring an all-star cast. Intrigued yet? Well, Bullet Head includes Academy Award Winner Adrien Brody (The Pianist 2002, The Grand Budapest Hotel 2014), renowned actor, that probably should have an Academy Award, John Malkovich (Being John Malkovich 1999, Burn After Reading 2008), and Rory Culkin (Signs 2002, Mean Creek 2004) as three career criminals holed up in what they think is an abandoned warehouse after a heist gone wrong. Let us not forget it also stars Antonio Banderas (Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles 1994, Desperado 1995). Oh, those who are still not yet interested in checking out Bullet Head, it also is filled with adorable dogs. Now are you interested?
Brody, Malkovich, and Culkin are waiting for a pickup as cops descend on the warehouse they find themselves holed up in after their job goes horribly awry. It was supposed to be a simple job for these safe-cracking criminal experts, but, of course, nothing is ever easy. While they wait, the crew discovers that they are not alone—there is an even more dangerous threat waiting for them within.
What should have been a quiet night turns into a fight for life as the three criminals slowly discover a high-stakes dog fighting ring lives in the warehouse, and the top dog is on the loose. As this poor pooch wreaks havoc on our three criminals, the ringleader, played by a suave Antonio Banderas who is willing to do anything to get his escaped prize fighter back.
On the surface, one might think that a film focusing solely on a bunch of macho-looking criminals might be a bit generic. At times it is. That in mind, Bullet Head has your typical action sequences, but the film really finds its stride in its quieter moments. Thanks to some thoughtful writing and directing of Solet (Grace 2009, Dark Summer 2015) backed up by stellar performances from the cast, Bullet Head manages to humanize all of its criminals by giving them touching backstories.
Each character gets their chance to shine and tell tales rife with animal symbolism, giving viewers an insight into the past of each one. Yes, even the dog gets one. These scenes break up the monotony of bloody chase scenes and bust the constantly building tension, but the actors manage to make their monologues go above and beyond audience expectations. If you came to see a straight-up Action flick, though, Bullet Head might not be the movie for you.
Still, there is no doubt these smart monologues are what made such renowned actors sign up for what otherwise might have been a lackluster Action flick. Somewhat surprisingly, the most touching of these performances comes from Culkin, whose performance adds some necessary depth to his drug-addled character. Brody, Banderas, and Malkovich have plenty to offer, too. Brody adds a welcome touch of comedic relief, while the others give these characters colorful, vividly acted histories. Bullet Head would have felt flat without these, most likely leaving the audience to cheer for the dog to win. Well, you still want the dog to win, but at the same time you want the criminals to win, as well. If only they could all become one big happy family.
Thankfully, viewers do not have to see any actual dog fighting, even though certain scenes are shown from the dog’s perspective. While it unnecessarily perpetuates the idea that Pit Bulls are aggressive, Solet’s film asks viewers to empathize with its animals as much as the criminals. An interesting choice for a film about a heist-turned-chase-turned-heist-again, but that is what makes Bullet Head stand out among a crowd of lifeless shoot ‘em ups with throwaway stories.
If nothing else, check out Bullet Head for its all star performances—and stay for the dogs. For these reasons, CrypticRock gives Bullet Head 4 out of 5 stars.