Reel Critics: 'Bullet to the Head' fires blanks

Walter Hill is no stranger to sophisticated action-adventure movies. He has directing, screenwriting or producer credits on "Alien," "48 Hrs." and "Last Man Standing." But you can't expect he would have any subtle variations on the action theme with a movie called "Bullet to the Head."

In this bloody new effort, Hill teams up with an aging Sylvester Stallone to commit blunt force trauma on the target audience. Stallone plays an old-school hitman with military training operating out of New Orleans. To start off, his buddy is killed by the same executioner who also kills the partner of a northern city cop.

The cop and the criminal become unlikely allies on a mission to seek revenge for the murders of their friends. What follows is typical and very graphic R-rated violence. People are brutally stabbed, beaten and shot to further the predictable plot. You know who will survive in the end without me telling you. But rest assured, there will be blood!


An odd way to keep 'Warm'

Just in time for Valentine's Day comes "Warm Bodies," a refreshing low-key romantic comedy where boy meets girl, boy eats girl's boyfriend and falls in love. Not your everyday love story, but what can you expect if boy's a zombie?

Actually, you can expect a lot of fun. With the story told from the zombie point of view, we come to like R (Nicholas Hoult), who's pretty cute in spite of a bad complexion and shuffling gait.

When R first sees Julie (Teresa Palmer), his jaw drops even more than usual. Without thinking (possibly because he's a corpse), he whisks Julie off to his secret hideaway where she'll be safe. Watching R's awkward efforts to make small talk (again, because he's a corpse) on their "first date" charms us all.

As it turns out, there are some very bad zombies, called Boneys, who become a serious threat to R and his band of walking dead. There's plenty of scary chases to keep things lively.

Unlike the "Twilight" series, these undead are hilarious on purpose. I loved Hoult's attempts at conversation with best friend Rob Corddry, who gets off some fun one-liners. Analeigh Tipton also shines as Julie's best friend.

"Warm Bodies" shows us that true love is possible, even during a zombie apocalypse. Romantics, take heart. Figuratively speaking, of course.

JOHN DEPKO is a retired senior investigator for the Orange County public defender's office. He lives in Costa Mesa and works as a licensed private investigator. SUSANNE PEREZ lives in Costa Mesa and is an executive assistant for a company in Irvine.

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