The roar dies into a hollow echo, the growl gets gutturally one-note and the grit becomes B-movie background. Has too scuzzy a heart to pump out a deep throb of action. Peel this one back and you get more pit than pulp.
The film could be summed by its product placement for Bulleit Bourbon, treated like a rare luxury when it's actually $20 a bottle at Trader Joe's; director Walter Hill serves this inexpensive, everyday material with a serious flourish.
At its ridiculous best Bullet reminds us why we liked Stallone in the first place. But time has moved on, for him and for us and there's a point where looking back this way stops being entertaining and starts to become sad.
What's it about? Some bad guys. And some other bad guys. And some badder guys. And bullets to the head, as though through repetition of the title in action we're meant to finally understand the platonic ideal of how to murder a person with a gun.
With a cracked-asphalt voice, a shaved-wildebeest hide, the veined musculature of Swamp Thing and the apparent flexibility of a tree trunk, the aging Sylvester Stallone remains a commanding, amusing and somewhat awe-inspiring screen presence.