|image courtesy: SC Films International|
After catching the drug magnate's son red-handed who is then sentenced to death for killing 3 cops, Frank must brace himself for the wrath of the father. Now his grandson has been taken. He's willing to retract his testament against the son for the sake of his own grandson but what is he to do to do the right thing, to protect the people from the danger that is a drug magnate?
An old cop going solo in defeating a world-class drug magnate? That's so not working for this movie. Liam Neeson might have done well going solo for the film Taken that a sequel had been released but that's only because he is charismatic. Old age did take its toll on Danny Trejo "Bullet" for this film. He moves way too slow that even I myself as an audience watching the film felt sluggish.
I don't know what got into the head of the filmmakers to make this kind of film. Movies wherein the protagonist— hero or an antihero he may be— goes alone in pursuing his nemesis against all odds (like hired killers) were pretty much a hit during the 80s. The only reason such theme worked in the outset of the 21st century is because of high technology— long-range sniping rifles with infrared and night vision, tracking devices with GPS, voice-detecting gadgets etc.
But this film takes on the old-fashioned way. No high-end gadgets, just sheer guns alone which means that the real weapon is the hero's guts. Thus the apt title, Bullet which is the nickname of the protagonist in this film.
The movie touched the classic plot of a hero spited by a notorious drug magnate whose son is at the brink of lethal injection. A classic story in the hot deserts of the wild west. As a foreigner, I know that stretch of land. In order to save his son's life, the villain will do what he could to stop his execution from happening and thus, the dirty works— kidnap the governor's daughter and killing the boyfriend to make the threat serious, kidnap the prosecutor's grandson and staging the prosecutor's suicide.
Yeah, yeah. We already know about such things. In fact, we had been dished with similar films though not exactly alike but similar like The Fast and Furious series (at least, for the drug-dealing part). Of course, you could mention other films.
Honestly, as a viewer, I don't care how many times I see the same thing all over again. What matters is that I enjoy watching the material. But this one? It looks so lame. The opening of the film would have looked catchy if the protagonist looks agile in his movement. But like what has been said already, he's so slow-going. Meanwhile, I actually like the 'surprise' bit following after that opening act. But the rest is just way too flimsy.
There's some kind of drama for this film. That the drama is a nice substantial one and not a hollow story unlike the only kind of drama that could be thought for Step Up series. I appreciate what they have come up for the background drama when the focus is the action. But the action part is just too rusty.
While I like how a female cop has been handled in this film, I feel otherwise for the other cops. I mean really? Really?! The way the SWAT has been treated is not justifiable to me. They had been killed and not a single shot has been taken by that giant of a german? Come on! He might be very lanky, but he's still big enough for a target sheet. Not to mention that drug magnate! The only acceptable maltreatment of SWAT to me by Hollywood would be what James Cameron did in Terminator: Judgment Day.
There are so many ways that Taken series had nailed it. And so many that this movie has it wrong. Let's talk about Taken. Like Danny Trejo, Liam Neeson is an old man. But unlike Trejo, Neeson has the height advantage. Not only is Neeson tall, he is also good-looking whereas Trejo looks like the bad guy in a bad way. Luke Evans for FF6 is the kind of bad guy in a good way— in the looks department. Trejo's face just doesn't appeal to the public. By the public, I mean myself. And no, he can't pull off the granddad act with that. And even with the granddad role, he still won't be appealing.
Filmmakers might have thought that just because Taken has succeeded in the classic old-cop-going-solo theme, they would sell too. Apparently, they are so wrong with that. They should think on what appeals to the masses. And yes, whether they like it or not, the good looks do appeal. Acting is one thing, beauty quite another. It's for that reason that no matter how mucked up the stories of Tom Cruise's films are, his films would still sell. And no, I don't care how sick he is as a person. I just enjoy his films. Okay, at least Tom Cruise's films have solid plot unlike this one.
That underground UFC fight? BIG lame. I understand that the storywriters tried to establish that the protagonist is strong in hand-to-hand combat, but I was not convinced. He still looks a slow-going old man to me. And that's very well-established on the opening of the film. For that reason, the climax and the dénouement were also horrible.
I understand Trejo is a big star but I just couldn't see that in him in this film.
The protagonist delivering catchphrases in the entire film is just pure débâcle. In other circumstances, the phrases might work but I feel that such beautiful lines are wasted on this film. If there's any that I really appreciate in Bullet, that would be the sound editing and the musical scoring.