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Film / Bullet to the Head

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Bullet to the Head is a 2013 action film directed by Walter Hill, starring Sylvester Stallone as hitman Jimmy Bobo, Jason Momoa as rival assassin Keegan and Sung Kang as Detective Taylor Kwon. After their respective partners die, a New Orleans hitman and a Washington D.C. detective form an alliance in order to bring down their common enemy.

Not to be confused with the John Woo classic Bullet in the Head.


This film provides examples of:

  • An Axe to Grind: When Keegan and Bobo finally do battle each other, they do it in the manner of Tom Cody and Raven.
    Jimmy Bobo: What are we, fuckin' Vikings?
  • Anti-Hero: Bobo is either this or an Anti-Villain. It depends on your point-of-view.
  • Ax-Crazy: Keegan, and with a healthy dose of Blood Knight.
  • Big Bad: Robert Kagomo Morel, the Corrupt Corporate Executive who killed our heroes' partners.
  • Boom, Headshot!:
    • Bobo kills his targets with a bullet to the head, and even talks about the concept with Detective Kwon.
    • Keegan did the same with one mook of a rival gang.
  • Chekhov's Gun: In form of a literal gun. Jimmy managed to unload a mag from the gun of his contact before confronting him. After a tense moment the contact goes for his gun and tries to shoot Bobo In the Back. Jimmy instantly presents the mag, dropping the line of bullets, not guns, killing people. Then his own gun jams and he's forced into a brawl with the contact. In the end he collects both the mag and pistol, reloads and instantly shoots the traitor.
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  • Corrupt Cop: Bobo even lampshades this to Kwon, asking why he was a detective if he didn't catch this early on.
  • Costume-Test Montage: Bobo and Kwon try several sets of clothes before crashing Marcus' costume party.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Bobo:
    Kwon: You can't just shoot a guy!
    Bobo: I just did.
  • The Dragon: Keegan, who's also Dragon-in-Chief to Morel and later ascends.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Bobo may be a killer-for-hire, but he mentions that he refuses to kill women and children.
    • Keegan doesn't take it well when Morel considers his deceased comrades expendable.
  • Film Noir: Particularly in that Bobo is a professional criminal dealing with angst over his life choices and his own conscience.
  • Gory Deadly Overkill Title of Fatal Death
  • Greed: The gang of the bad guys gets destroyed by this.
  • Interchangeable Asian Cultures:
    • This exchange between Bobo and Kwon.
      "So, what are you gonna do? Use your Samurai skills?"
      "First of all, I'm not Japanese; I'm KOREAN. That'd be like me telling you 'My favorite kind of Italian food is Tacos.'"
    • Bobo also calls Kwon Confucius once.
  • Lampshade Hanging: The film and its characters are very self-aware about own cheesiness and different clichés happening all over the place. That's probably its main redeeming factor.
  • Let Off by the Detective: In the end, Taylor warns Jimmy that he will arrest him for any future crime and let him go just like that. It's not that Jimmy managed to plow his way through the film, leaving dozens of bodies behind and Taylor watched it all.
  • Lightning Bruiser:
    • Keegan is extremely fast and agile, in addition to being impressively strong.
    • Jimmy himself is no slouch either, while being surprisingly fast for his size. His enemies are shocked by his pace at least twice .
  • Made of Iron: Keegan. He gets stabbed in the throat and still tries to charge Bobo, only being stopped by a shot to the head from Taylor, followed by a few more bullets just to make sure.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Sarah Shahi as Lisa.
  • My Sister Is Off-Limits!: Literally. Bobo warns Kwon to stay away from his daughter. Of course, Kwon doesn't listen and begins to see her while in rehab after being shot in the same shoulder that he was shot earlier in the film and Lisa helped in taking out the bullet. Bobo is not amused.
  • Non-Action Guy:
    • Kwon, though justified that he was shot in the shoulder early in the film and has stitches in his arm that would break easily.
    • Lisa, Jimmy's daughter, who isn't much of a fighter given she works as a tattoo artist, but makes up for it by being a medic. When Keegan shows for her, she puts a legitimate, if doomed, resistance.
  • Old Cop, Young Cop: All pieces are in the place. Jimmy is older, more experienced and bitter. Taylor is younger, by-the-book and better with new technologies. The wrinkle is that Bobo is a professional killer.
  • Open Heart Dentistry: Lisa removed a bullet from Taylor's arm and patched it up. Quite a feat for someone who was in med school for a year or something. Or as she notes maybe she got a better hang of it each time her father brings someone to patch up.
  • Papa Wolf: Touch Jimmy Bobo's daughter and he will end you.
  • Product Placement: There's a whole sequence where we establish that Jimmy is so committed to drinking only Bulleit Bourbon that he will bring a bottle to bars and pay for the use of a shot glass. The bourbon is treated as an exotic and rare brand, while today it's become quite mainstream, perhaps due to marketing efforts like this one.
  • Professional Killer: Jimmy, who openly declares that it's his job and he does it for living, whenever people like it or not.
  • Properly Paranoid: Jimmy put explosives under his own hideout, just in case he ever needed to blow it up.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: Louis, We Hardly Knew Ye. Yet his death is enough to keep sizable part of the plot going.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: If there is an explosion, it's either spectacular or will trigger another one, while being spectacular.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Most of the Mooks are shot repeatably, and there is also Bobo's way of explosions.
  • Undying Loyalty: Most of the time Bobo is avenging his partner, Louis. And trying to get his money back.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: The entire film seems to run on the philosophy of having the main character solve all of his conflicts by killing people. It not always work as intended.
  • World of Snark: Jimmy, Taylor and Lisa seem to take part in some competition for more snarks per dialogue. Minor characters also has their moments.
  • Worst Aid: Keegan pulled out a knife that Jimmy lodged in his throat. The wound itself was fatal already, but doing so would kill him before he could do anything. Taylor shoot him before Keegan even managed to drop dead.
  • You Fight Like a Cow: Keegan mocks and antagonizes Bobo throughout their fight; combined with his various threats towards Lisa, it appears he simply has a taste for psychological warfare.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Morel decides that Bobo and Kwon only did him a favor by kidnapping Baptiste. When he is giving instructions to mooks, he openly declares that Mr. Baptiste can bite the dust in the process of reclaiming his data, since he already helped to make all the important deals and now is nothing more than a liability.