I'm not trying to be a hero! I'M FIGHTING THE DRAGON!!

Vern’s LOVE AND A BULLET review!!!

Hey folks, Harry here with that damn Outlaw Vern chiming in on LOVE AND A BULLET, which is… I believe an inane Reese Witherspoon Romantic Comedy that will make you weep, laugh and cheer. Awwwww, it’s an Outlaw Vern sort of film, he gets touchy feely like that. And he’s dead right about the coming civil wars of Comic Traditionalists and Revisionists and the deaths upon the fields of dishonor! I tell ya, TWO TOWERS has nothing on it! hehehe

Boys –

Did you notice how Mel Gibson’s Jesus movie was really controversial in the talkbacks until you mentioned Superman? Man I don’t think I’ve ever seen the newsies so worked up. I think in about 20 years when this generation of “geeks” is in power we will see comic book fundamentalists controlling governments around the world the way religious fundamentalists do today. Trying to force their Superfriends morals on everybody else. Some nutty congressman from the Utility Belt will get them to hang up the X-Men letters page in schools and courthouses. It’ll be an interesting time.

But until then this is what I got for you boys, a review of LOVE AND A BULLET starring some rapper named Treach, due to be released on video December 3rd. I happened to watch this during my usual patrol of straight-to-video screeners thinking it would be more garbage. Apparently it has played in theaters somewhere, but how was I supposed to know? I never heard of it. Anyway, the reason I wanted to review it is because it’s SURPRISINGLY UN-BAD.

Love and a BulletNow I’m not gonna claim it’s great, because it’s not. In fact it’s yet another self consciously hip hitman-comedy and I guarantee it will annoy the shit out of many of you. But I was surprised to find myself laughing with alot of the jokes and ultimately enjoying the thing. It’s loaded with cliches but it mixes them around in ways you don’t always expect and sometimes it surprises you. Having watched other straight-to-video-urban-action-thrillers such as EASTSIDAZ and URBAN MENACE and WAR STORIES I think it is important for those of us who watch that kind of crap to praise those who are able to work in this genre and rise one or two millimeters above mediocrity. Even in the worst parts, you at least can tell they’re TRYING, and sadly you don’t see that every day. Good job boys.

The movie is written and directed by Ben Ramsey and Kantz. I have no clue who this Kantz clown is (maybe a roommate of McG or Kaos?) but the other guy apparently wrote that Mark Wahlberg sensitive hitman comedy THE BIG HIT. The action in that movie was better than in this one, but this one is funnier. The hitman character here, Malik Bishop, is not quite as sensitive. In fact he’s a big asshole who got where he is in the world by mowing down a bunch of untouchables who offended him by showing up late.

“It’s not professional,” he keeps saying, and we’ve heard that type of shit a million times just since RESERVOIR DOGS. Get it, it’s crime, but it’s a job. When people make movies like this you get the feeling they think they made that idea up. They don’t even know about the gangster corporation in Richard Stark’s Parker novels. But in this movie I thought after the initial annoyance, it started to work and do new things with the concept. For example, there is a scene where Malik’s mentor confronts their white boss about institutional racism within the organization and how the black hitmen get the shitty jobs and the white ones get the promotions. The actor Sam Scarber is real good and makes the scene both funny and kind of dramatic and sad.

By the way, how come people who make movies think that there are a million hitmen in the world? Like, everywhere you go, you find a hitman. It’s like on TV, every single person is a doctor or a lawyer or a cop. In movies, you’re either a psychologist to the mafia, a serial killer with an ambitious MO, a hitman, or you’re an evil flying guy from Krypton who works for the CIA but really you are sort of undercover and don’t worry the CIA are still good guys, you are only pretending to be with the CIA even though you’re a bad guy from Krypton.

The story jumps all over the place with lots of intertitles and nonstop voiceover narration and cute shit like that. It starts with Malik staking out the boss’s fiancee’s apartment, because she might be cheating on him. He’s watching her through a scope, waiting for the word to kill her. He explains that he does his workout at the same time she does, sleeps at the same time as she does, and starts to feel like they are a married couple. You know what this means right away: he’s in love with her, she’s too beautiful to kill, blah blah blah. As he explains this he starts going off on tangents, like how he got there, and tangents within tangents like who his first love was and etc., and this becomes the movie.

There are some good uses of the Theory of Badass Juxtaposition. One of the standout scenes is when Malik does a hit and disposes of the bodies while simultaneously trying to prepare a Thanksgiving feast. The humor is just this side of forced, but I started to laugh as his narration about the cooking started to get more detailed. It almost reminded me of the facial scrub monologue in AMERICAN PSYCHO.

This scene also had my favorite joke in the movie. When his boss interupts his Thanksgiving preparations to tell him to kill somebody, he tries to get out of it and suggests another co-worker for the job. But that guy couldn’t do it because there was a special 2-hour tv movie of HOMICIDE on.

But the best part of the movie is when it gets back to him staking out the woman’s apartment, waiting to kill her. You have known since the beginning of the movie exactly what was gonna happen. And then, well, something else happens. And you get what I call the OSIO moment, or “Oh shit, it’s on.” The filmatists agree with my description I guess because they even included an intertitle that says “IT’S ON.”

What follows, unfortunately, is not the type of knock your balls out the window action that a proper OSIO moment makes you crave. It’s mostly a bunch of guys with ski masks running around shooting. Kinda stupid. But at least there is a little breakdancing, and Malik shoots a guy’s leg off, which is always enjoyable.

The cast is pretty good. Treach is not one of them revelations or anything but he does a worthy job and I like the deadpan way he delivers the sometimes ridiculous narration. The music is pretty cheesy, but you get over it. Overall, LOVE AND A BULLET is a surprisingly not-that-bad almost-straight-to-video movie. I honestly think if they had their heart in it, they could make a pretty good franchise out of this character. (They are already trying with an animated tie-in called THE CONTRACT but judging from the short on UrbanEntertainment.Com it is probaly not that hot.)

Anyway thanks boys,

Vern

Originally published at Aint-It-Cool-News: http://www.aintitcool.com/node/13421

View the archived Ain’t-It-Cool-News Talkback

  • Sept. 30, 2002, 6:12 a.m. CST

    I didn’t want to be first.

    by ToyMachine

    But since I am, I will say that this movie is nothing unless Hulk Hogan is the baddie, someone has a need for anal sex or Hudson says Game over man.

  • Sept. 30, 2002, 7:36 a.m. CST

    Better Treach than Redman or Methodman

    by bulletproofpunk

    long live blaxpoitation flicks

  • Sept. 30, 2002, 1:21 p.m. CST

    You NEED to make a SWITCH – to STRAIGHT JACKIN’!

    by Harry Weinstein

    I’m looking forward to this movie. I thought THE BIG HIT was a lot of fun, though I can see where it would be tremendously annoying to some people. Any movie that makes a major plot thread out of an overdue rental copy of KING KONG LIVES is OK by me. The trailer for this looks decent, and I’m suprised it’s not getting more of a theatrical release. Of course, what Ben Ramsey needs to do is make a BIG HIT sequel that revolves around Crunch meeting a woman that makes him question his loyalty to Straight Jackin’. Ben, if you’re reading this, you can have that idea for free.

  • Sept. 30, 2002, 1:25 p.m. CST

    Oh, and…

    by Harry Weinstein

    URBAN MENACE might be the worst movie ever made. It’s definitely worse than PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE, on every concievable level.

  • Sept. 30, 2002, 2:32 p.m. CST

    I agree buddy

    by Vern

    URBAN MENACE is about as bad as they get. Alot of people say a movie is gonna be bad when it stars rappers, but what about when it lists rappers as the stars and they’re not really? Then who does that leave? This is some weird combination of a tv soap opera and a demo reel. At least Mr. Dogg got to rehearse for his spooky scenes in BONES I guess. For now on, I will check the credits on all straight to video boxes in case they are from that schmuck who directed CYBORG.

  • Sept. 30, 2002, 2:59 p.m. CST

    Reese Witherspoon becomes another highly paid star whose movies

    by Son Of Batboy

    Right next to Julia Roberts, Tom Cruise, John Travolta, and Sandra Bullock. How the hell could Sweet Home Alabama rake in 37.5 million!?!? God how I prayed Legally Blonde was a fluke and she’d gradually fade into sitcoms or “decide” to spend more time with her family. Now thanks to the mass of cretins who turned out for that movie we can expect dozens more. Do they realize what they’ve unleashed? It is nothing short of the EBOLA virus or that strain of infectious disease known as Staphylo-Sandler-Coccus. Anyone carrying around a ticket stub for that movie has earned my wrath. And don’t try to burn because I’ll know. I’ll smell it on you. Reese Witherspoon irritates me to no end. Even her name is annoying and that perky cuteness sends me to the verge of shoving knitting needles into my eardrums and barbecue forks into my eyes. Sure she has a big rack but that Joker chin is like Kyptonite to my little..erm..big man of steel. If they could only stuff a sock in her mouth and duct tape her head inside a GLAD bag I might not mind but as it stands she must be stopped!!! Oh, the humanity.

  • Oct. 2, 2002, 2:32 p.m. CST

    Sweet Sweetback

    by Vern

    Is Random Acts of Violence released yet? I can’t find it anywhere. I agree too, the motherfuckers line was good.

  • Oct. 22, 2007, 4:57 a.m. CST

    by aint_it_cruel?

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Monday, September 30th, 2002 at 6:09 am and is filed under Action, AICN, Reviews, Thriller. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One Response to “Vern’s LOVE AND A BULLET review!!!”

  1. I remember renting this when I was 16 years old and I heard about this movie by seeing a trailer for it in front of a movie I had rented called “Brother” with Takeshi Kitano and Omar Epps. I was enticed to see it that I had to see if it would be released in theaters (It was, too, but only in NY and LA, neither of which I live in). So I rented it when it came to video and I remember being entertained by it. I still remember the Thanksgiving scene when he tried cooking dinner for himself and his girlfriend. I also still remember the scenes with the other hitmen talking about Yaphet Kotto and some other black actors and how they have sex and such. Also, I remember that the smallest one was none other than Walter Jones aka the original Black Ranger from “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.”

    As much as I respect and like Treach as a rapper (I consider myself a fan of Naughty By Nature, a group he is in, to some degree anyway), I sometimes wonder how he gets these acting gigs. This is probably his biggest one compared to others. Sure, his other movies are direct-to-DVD but this one at least had a theatrical run. The guy is not a great actor. He starred in a sequel to “The Art of War” and played Wesley Snipes’ character.

    I would watch this movie again. I could buy it if I want to watch it for the ridiculousness of it, as long as I don’t pay too much for it. It might come on HBO again for all I know.

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