Bullet to the Head certainly isn't destined for the awards circuit, but Sylvester Stallone's latest action flick does promise some mindless fun packed with plenty of solid one-liners. Plus, it co-stars the awesome Jason Momoa (Game of Thrones, Conan the Barbarian) as the big, hulking bad guy.
Few actors rival Stallone when it comes to the ability to deliver menacing barbs. And if the trailer is any indication, Bullet to the Head takes full advantage of its star's skills. We see him uttering one-liners, like "Are we gonna fight or do you plan on boring me to death?" and "I take out the trash." (Hopefully there's a lot more where those came from.)
To add to the campy fun, it looks like this time around the aging Sly isn't afraid to poke a bit of fun at himself. The movie sees him paired up with a young whippersnapper played by Sung Kang (The Fast & The Furious) who constantly takes jabs at the 66-year-old action hero, like "Can we listen to something from this century?" as Stallone rocks out to Foreigner's '70s classic "Hot Blooded."
Sometimes, all you really want from a movie is to be able to enjoy it without giving it a lot of thought, and, from the looks of it, Bullet to the Head will deliver on that front. Stallone has certainly been favoring that type of movie lately. He joined his old Planet Hollywood buddies Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis (among many, many others) in The Expendables 2, and has another action/ thriller with Arnie, The Tomb, set to premiere later this year.
Of course, what really sets enjoyable mindless action movies apart from, well, just plain bad mindless action flicks, are the witty barbs. Some of which even go on to appear in many a meme. (Like, y'know, anything Chuck Norris has ever said on the big screen.)
With that in mind, here's a list of 10 of the most memorable movie one-liners that make it clear the bad guys have messed with the wrong guy. Because really, how could insane ass-kicking scenes not follow these legendary quips?
1. "I don't step on toes, I step on necks" - Chuck Norris in Braddock: Missing in Action III.
2. "I'll be back" - Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Terminator
3. "You believe in Jesus? ... Well, you're gonna meet him." - Charles Bronson in Death Wish II.
4. "Get off my lawn" - Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino. (Followed closely by Harrison Ford's "Get off my plane!" in Air Force One.)
5. "You're a disease, and I'm the cure." - Sylvester Stallone in Cobra.
6. "I'm gonna take you to the bank, Senator Trent. To the blood bank." - Steven Seagal in Hard to Kill.
7. "This is Sparta!" - Gerard Butler in 300.
8. "How do you like your ribs?" - Carl Weathers in Action Jackson.
9. "That's not a knife. This is a knife." - Paul Hogan in Crocodile Dundee.
10. "Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die." - Mandy Patinkin in The Princess Bride.
John Woo made an inauspicious American debut with "Hard Target," a balls-to-the-wall action movie starring Jean-Claude Van Damme that features, among other things, homeless people being hunted for sport a la "The Most Dangerous Game," poisonous snakes, arrows through the neck, a major action sequence taking place in the hanger where they keep the Marti Gras floats and flagrant use of a Creedence Clearwater Revival song. In short: it's truly awesome. Overseen by Sam Raimi, who was there as insurance for a worried Universal Pictures (they were nervous about an Asian director being on the movie), the film was initially so extreme that it was awarded an NC-17 by the MPAA, necessitating something like 17 cuts before it even got an R. As it stands, the movie is the cult classic of junky action movies.
The "Fast and the Furious" franchise really hit its peak with "The Fast & the Furious: Tokyo Drift," the first installment directed by Justin Lin, but there's something raw and uproarious and gleefully over-the-top about "Fast Five," which moved the franchise away from the muscle car race stuff and into the heist movie genre with aplomb. The movie opens with a great prison break sequence, features people driving cars off cliffs, and climaxes with an elaborate heist centerpiece that takes up maybe 20 minutes of screen time and has our heroes careening through the streets of Rio (why are they even there?). Adding to the drama was the addition of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson to the cast, who played Vin Diesel's foil and gave the movie a pair of fight sequences where two beefy bald dudes beat the snot out of each other. A Justin Lin-directed "Fast and the Furious Six" is coming out this summer and we couldn't be more excited if we tried.
With "Rumble in the Bronx," the world at large was introduced to Hong Kong action sensation Jackie Chan. While some of his later movies were better staged and more serious, content-wise, there's something about "Rumble in the Bronx"'s freewheeling goofiness that makes it an action movie guilty pleasure. One of the more endearingly hilarious aspects of "Rumble in the Bronx" is how it's set in the Bronx but is VERY CLEARLY photographed in Vancouver. The climax, in fact, takes place on this bizarre hover barge that we really wish we could take to that weird Ikea Superstore in Brooklyn. Is it the best Jackie Chan movie? Hell no. Do we feel the guiltiest for loving it so? Hell yes.
For Michael Bay's first film since the heavily hyped, ultimately underperforming "Pearl Harbor," he went all out – "Bad Boys II," a sequel to his very first feature (1995's surprise smash "Bad Boys"), is a very R-rated, 148-minute action extravaganza that obliterates any notion of subtlety or tact. One of the reasons "Bad Boys II" might be the guiltiest of action movie guilty pleasures is how morally deplorable it is. It's hard to think of a major action movie as grotesquely violent, painfully misogynist, psychotically vulgar or outrageously racist as this (and somehow, that seems like an understatement). It's truly an outré action movie, one that is, despite all of its ugliness, doggedly artful – it might be Bay's most gorgeously shot movie and the closest he's ever come to a particular brand of chaos poetry, with a climax borrowed from Jackie Chan (this time with much more splattered brain matter). We need a Blu-ray, please.
Before Kathryn Bigelow became a leading director whose uniquely gritty mode bordered on documentary filmmaking, she was a premiere, high-gloss stylist, and the glossiest of her early films is "Point Break." The tale of a gang of thieves who call themselves "The Ex-Presidents" (they wear masks of famous presidents) who are also bad-ass surfers, it features a lead character named Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves), a naked woman beating someone over the head with a frying pan, excessive Gary Busey and an emphasis on Zen surfing spirituality that wavers somewhere between profundity and utter stupidity. It's all part of the fun of "Point Break," though, which features a rare Patrick Swayze villain role and maybe the best ending of any movie ever. There, I said it. I love Kathryn Bigelow's recent run but would it have killed her to put a naked woman with a frying pan in "Zero Dark Thirty?"
Everything about "Road House" (which inspired a direct-to-video sequel way after the fact that should be skipped entirely) is cheesy movie perfection. Examples: Patrick Swayze's character is a "cooler,"; the dialogue includes a villain saying, "I used to fuck guys like you in prison"; Swayze's character is famous for ripping out people's throats; Ben Gazzara, serious actor from Cassavetes movies, plays an over-the-top small town dirtbag; and Swayze's hair. It would be easy to call "Road House" a midnight movie, but as endless, truncated airings on TBS have taught us, any time of the day is a good time for "Road House." We attended a screening recently at LA's Cinefamily and it was an event that bordered on the guiltily transcendent. (We miss you, Swayze.)
Last year we lost one of the action movie greats in Tony Scott, and while "The Last Boy Scout" won't be counted by anyone as one of his best, it is certainly one of his most guiltily pleasurable. At the time, the Shane Black script was one of the largest script sales ever, and while a lot of that got lost on its way to the big screen, the snappy Black dialogue is there, as are the mismatched heroes (a drunken private eye and a former NFL footballer). Everything else is gloriously Tony Scott – the smoky set, the splashes of bold ultra-violence, and the fact that, in the opening sequence, a major NFL game is played in a heavy downpour (a flourish Scott would repeat for the climax to his other sports-set opus, "The Fan"). It's a movie whose jaw-dropping title sequence also doubles as the theme song to a fictional football broadcasting show. "Friday night's a good night for football," indeed.
An infamous critical and commercial dud when it was released, "Last Action Hero" endures, at least to those who enjoy guilty pleasure action movies, for its wink-wink, nudge-nudge humor and a tart collection of action set pieces, masterfully choreographed by John McTiernan, the man behind "Die Hard" and "The Hunt for Red October." It's always a dicey proposition when a big-budget action movie also wants to lampoon big-budget action movies, especially when things became so muddled that the original script, meant as a parody of the kind of scripts Shane Black was making millions on, was being heavily rewritten by Black himself. The final film is neither fish nor foul, but it's still highly enjoyable and really, really funny. Maybe people will one day pick up on what it really was – an ahead-of-its-time genre deconstruction/celebration; like an action movie version of "Cabin in the Woods."
More or less, "Cliffhanger" can be boiled down to: Sylvester Stallone on a mountain. Which is fine by me. This high-concept actioner, from "Die Hard 2" director Renny Harlin, pits Stallone against a bunch of sadistic thieves (led by John Lithgow, rocking an indeterminate accent), as they try to retrieve some money that was lost during a plane crash. From a formal standpoint, "Cliffhanger" pretty much sucks, but that doesn't stop it from being a ridiculous amount of fun. Stallone finds some pretty inventive ways to kill bad guys, including him impaling one dude on a stalactite (can you imagine the upper body strength that must require?) and another one where he glides underneath a frozen pond and shoots up through the ice to kill the guy. It's truly deplorable but insanely entertaining, with Harlin still working from his Euro-trash-emulation-of-Peckinpah mode that made so many of his movies morally questionable.
The "Resident Evil" franchise, which is a kind of horror/action/sci-fi hybrid, is one of the worst things happening regularly in Hollywood these days (there seems to be another one released every sixteen months or so), but the third entry, "Resident Evil: Extinction," is something of a guilty pleasure. It resets the lame zombie premise to a sun-bleached post-apocalyptic Las Vegas, which gives the whole thing a bombed-out western vibe. Mulcahy, one of the great, underrated directors of our generation, at least tips his hat to the fact that this whole thing is a videogame, by introducing a squadron of clones on the main character. It's not exactly high art but it makes you feel less terrible about watching it than any of the other ones.