|year: 2013 cast: Sylvester Stallone, Sun Kang, Jason Momoa rating: ***1/2|
Instead of cop and convict, it’s a cop and a hit man. The latter played by grizzled, noticeably aged but still capably rough Sly as James Bonomo – we learn in the first ten minutes he’s one cold-blooded dude, but leaving a female witness, is not completely awful.
His criminal sidekick winds up being double-cross/murdered and, cut to the chase, Bonomo’s reluctantly teamed with Korean good cop Taylor Kwon, played by a mellow but effectively resilient Sun Kang, providing a straight-laced Felix to Sly’s bulky Oscar.
Their verbal squabbles on the road aren’t as humorous as obviously intended. But the more than sporadic action sequences are energetic and, although much too bloody (the title is constantly put to use), this is a slightly above average tough guy movie. It’s all about the partners going from location to location, taking down a bevy of hit men and various lowlifes (including crooked cops and a shifty lawyer). It's that simple.
While most of the fist fights are dizzying, with the camera moving along with each punch, the gun battles are of the old school crime genre backed by Walter Hill’s signature use of gritty guitars, sounding like music pouring out of a redneck bar: a brawny retro score befitting our sixty-something anti hero.
Eventually, at a multilevel structure almost too perfect for a violent climax, there’s the one decision-making head villain responsible for holding the Sly's daughter hostage – yet it all comes down to Jason Momoa’s muscular henchman, the killer who’d wreaked havoc throughout the film, going one-on-one with Stallone in a battle with, of all things, a pair of antique firemen axes.
But with all the blood and guts it’s really about those two guys teamed against the odds, which, thanks to Bonomo’s know-how to do very bad things to the right bad people, are mostly in their favor.