Bullet to the Head: Rocky Still Packs a Mean Right Hook


Jimmy Bobo (Sylvester Stallone) and his partner, Louis (Jon Seda), have just killed a guy in New Orleans—they’re professional hit men—and Louis makes a joke about Jimmy’s advancing years. “I’ll show you an old man,” Jimmy snarls and right then, the final opening credit appears onscreen: “Directed by Walter Hill.” This is surely an inside joke—Stallone is 66 and Hill is 71, and in the parlance of the action genre (if not in American life itself), both men are considered past their prime. Yet, Stallone looks great (even if his face doesn’t quite move when he talks), while Hill (48 Hours, The Warriors) brings lean economy to the film’s bloody, unapologetic mayhem. After he and Lewis are ambushed in a bar, and his daughter kidnapped, an enraged Jimmy joins forces with a D.C. cop (Sung Kang) to destroy a ruthless crime syndicate. In adapting a French graphic novel, screenwriter Alessandro Camon (The Messenger) displays little flair for manly-man banter, despite Stallone and Kang’s valiant attempt at igniting sparks. No matter. Sly’s ax-fight finale against a hulking bad guy (the charismatic Jason Momoa) is satisfying nonsense, and yes, in the clutch, Rocky still packs a mean right hook.