As I understand it, a successful buddy movie requires two well-cast actors in the starring roles. This one, which is based on a French graphic novel, offers Sylvester Stallone as a cardboard (yet larger-than-life) character named Jimmy Bobo, a New Orleans hit man, and Sung Yang, whose face may be familiar from some of the Fast and Furious movies, as a Washington, D.C. cop who finds in him a most unlikely ally. Yang is a good-looking guy, which may please women in the audience, but I found him dishwater-dull, especially alongside the colorfully cartoonish Stallone. (His character isn’t very bright, either, which makes it hard to root for him. The New Orleans police make it very clear that he’s unwelcome in the Crescent City, but he never seems to catch on.)
Failing as a buddy movie, one might consider this an action yarn, but its content isn’t so much action as violence—extreme violence, which I found deadening. The big suspense is when and how Stallone is going to face off with beefy Jason Momoa.
What passes for cleverness in Alessandro Camon’s screenplay is a running gag of Stallone referring to Yang by a series of silly Asian names and epithets. (I’m not sure how many young moviegoers will get the Kato reference, but it scarcely matters.)
I know that screenwriter Camon, who wrote The Messenger, and director Walter Hill, who has forty years of credits to his name, are capable of better moviemaking than this. I also know that audiences who are hungry for explosions and a high body count will be willing to check their brains at the door to consume what this film has to offer.
As for me, I need a movie like this like I need a bullet to the head.