Low Budget Yields Low Quality in ‘Bullet’ [Blu-ray Review]

©Funimation ©Giant Ape Media
Danny Trejo as Frank “Bullet” Marasco in BULLET. ©Funimation ©2014 Giant Ape Media

To make a decent film you have to put in time, love, and originality or it will fall into the shadows where nobody will care about viewing it. Nick Lyon’s latest film Bullet will surely reside in those shadows. Danny Trejo (Machete, Bad Ass) stars in this stereotypical cop story that delivers no gratification and will have you wondering what happened to creativity. With a budget of approximately three million dollars it definitely shows. Although the effects are pretty decent, the film seems very rushed and sometimes repetitive. Danny Trejo is probably the only reason Bullet was even made due to the fact that he has gained a following through his countless appearances in various films.

©Funimation ©Giant Ape Media
©Funimation ©Giant Ape Media

The story revolves around Frank “Bullet” Marasco (Danny Trejo), an untraditional cop that is not afraid to get his hands dirty if necessary. Danny Trejo is surprisingly fit for being seventy years old and has the right look for this type of role. Frank is introduced as an undercover cop with methods that are a little unorthodox. While interrogating a criminal named Leroy in the middle of the desert Frank places three gas cans down and has Leroy sit on the center one. While asking him questions Frank begins to shoot the gas cans on the sides creating small explosions. The scene is interesting, but I feel unrealistic as well. The gas cans seem like they are placed to close to the middle where Leroy is sitting and would probably kill him in reality. With realism aside it is a good introduction to what type of cop Frank is. Like in most cop action films Frank’s character is a loner. He doesn’t have much family except for a daughter and grandson whom he doesn’t speak to often. He has thrown himself into his work and knows nothing else. Being the hardworking and dedicated police officer that he is though attracts many ruthless enemies.

Revenge is always the key motivation in a typical cop action film and Bullet is no exception. Frank put away Manual Kane who killed three cops and is now waiting for lethal injection. Unfortunately Manual’s father is drug baron Carlito Kane (Jonathan Banks). Carlito will stop at nothing to free his son and see the man who put him there buried underground. He starts by kidnapping the Governor’s daughter and threatens to execute her if his son is not released. The Governor tries to meet these requests, but these type of things always take time. In the meantime Carlito is not pleased and grows impatient. While hunting for the whereabouts of the Governor’s daughter, Frank gets dragged into the drama. While taking his grandson Mario to the park, Carlito’s men distract Frank while Mario is kidnapped. Fury burns in the eyes of Frank as the desire for revenge swells inside him.

Tension begins to rise in the mood of the story, however it does not come across as very believable. Everyone seems to have something to lose, but when an emotional scene is being delivered all I can see is actors reading lines. There is no sense of sincerity in their words. Frank’s grandson is abducted and in the next scene he seems fine. He’s only a little bummed out when he should be enraged beyond belief. When the film seems to mellow out and lose your attention a curve ball is thrown to pull you right back in. Carlito becomes desperate and attempts to set up Frank for the murders his son committed. This would force the release of Manual. Frank is forced to sign documents implicating him for these crimes and then is told to sign a suicide note in exchange for Mario’s release. The suicide note does not suit Frank so he escapes only to be hunted by the police for the document he signed. This adds some depth to the plot and unleashes who Frank really is. Now being hunted by the police and Carlito’s gang, Frank can not hold back anymore. He does everything and anything he must to get his grandson back and clear his name.

©Funimation ©Giant Ape Media
Torsten Voges as Kruger in BULLET. ©Funimation ©2014 Giant Ape Media

Carlito is the only character in this film that is actually believable. Jonathan Banks (Breaking Bad) does a splendid job of bringing the right amount of “crazy” to his drug baron persona. Carlito Kane is calm and collected, but can snap at any moment. Banks knows just how to bring this to the screen. In most shots his face shows almost no emotion or movement whatsoever. He reacts when necessary and then in a split second he is back to his emotionless self. When he has an outburst of violence it is quite the site to see. Rage and lunacy is all that manifests from within Carlito.

When the credits roll you will feel as if you wasted three hours of your life even though the film is only ninety minutes long. With no substance Bullet is not worth watching. There are endless other action movies that will give you all that Bullet delivered and more. If you pick up a Blu-ray of Bullet you will have access to “The Making of Bullet”, which in my opinion is more interesting than the film itself. It is the only special feature other than previews that is included. The featurette gives an insight to why the film turned out the way it did. Bullet was given a low budget of three million dollars from the beginning and went through many script problems. After twenty rewrites, yes twenty, the final draft was completed. If twenty rewrites were completed I expect a fantastic script and that was not what was produced. The production schedule did nothing to help this. With only eighteen days to shoot, the pace of the production was very hurried. They seemed to have the mentality of “good enough” when shooting the film. Eighteen days of production will not give what you need to create a successful action movie of the caliber they were attempting to reach. If one wants to produce an action movie that stands out from the rest, tender love and care is needed. It can’t be rushed and requires true devotion to the story.

Eric Benner

About Eric Benner

Born and raised in Philadelphia Eric Benner grew up with a passion for movies. This passion later became a lifestyle. Realizing he wanted to enter the film industry, Eric made his way to Wilmington, NC and is currently enrolled in film school. In his free time, he writes and directs his own short films and does camera work for various commercials and other film projects. Eric also works at a movie theater on the side to stay close to what he loves most about the film industry, the movies themselves.