In the interest of getting “hard” copies of my work under one roof, I plan to spend the next few weeks posting the entire archive of my film journalism here on ScullyVision. With due respect to the many publications I’ve written for, the internet remains quite temporary, and I’d hate to see any of my work disappear for digital reasons. As such, this gargantuan project must begin! I don’t want to do it. I hate doing it. But it needs to be done. Please note that my opinions, like everyone’s, have changed a LOT since I started, so many of these reviews will only represent a snapshot in time. Objectivity has absolutely no place in film criticism, at least not how I do it.
Originally posted on Cinema76.
To describe Bullets of Justice in a way that sounds at all rational is an exercise in pure futility. Between the mixed bag of special effects, the batshit insane imagery, a plot that, even at its most coherent, is largely incoherent, and the fact that the actors all seem to be non-English speakers working VERY phonetically, this straight-to-streaming cheapie is thoroughly terrible. Almost nothing about the film “works” in the classic sense of the word, and there are very few people who I could recommend this to with a straight face.
That said, I had more fun watching this movie than I have watching any movie in a long time. Who cares if it’s for mostly different reasons than the movie itself intended? This film, love it or hate it, is undeniably entertaining.
Looking at the cover art for Bullets of Justice reveals that it is yet another in a long line of films in the “We got Danny Trejo to roll through the set for a day or two” cottage industry, largely represented on Amazon Prime and Netflix, in which a super cheap flick has its profile lifted by the inclusion of the one and only Uncle Machete from Spy Kids 3D: Game Over. Bruce Willis has a similar racket going, but his is much more depressing because unlike Trejo, Willis looks exhausted, disinterested, and increasingly similar to Casper The Friendly Ghost. Trejo, for what it’s worth, shows the hell up for his two scenes (one in which he acts as a sort of “force ghost” in a narrative device that occurs just once and is immediately abandoned), and I respect him greatly for it.
Timur Turisbekov (who co-wrote the movie with director Valeri Milev) plays Rob Justice, an action guy who lives in a post-apocalyptic world where pig/human hybrids called Muzzles gather humans in large numbers to feed to their master or something. Rob, alongside his sister, who inexplicably has a mustache, and with whom Rob frequently has explicit, full-penetrative sex, are tasked with investigating the Muzzles and bringing them down. Also, there’s an evil leader named Benedict Asshole who Rob wants to destroy. There’s another villainous character, a sort of long-haired bohemian type, who may or may not be this Benedict Asshole, but I couldn’t tell because of general confusion with the script. Rob holds anger towards this man because he is “more beautiful” than Rob. There’s also a pig-man with an asshole for a mouth, and it seems that all of the pigs, asshole mouth or no, tend to shit blood regularly. There’s also an aspect of time travel that manifests at some point, but I am unsure of its relevance to the plot. I did write down a line, however, that kinda sorta maybe explains the relationship the people have with the time machine:
“There is no god, we call it teleport.”
Do with that what you will. What I’ve chosen to do with it is sit here cross-eyed, wondering how this all came together. Wondering, in addition, why so many lines as, uh, brilliant as this one are often rendered inaudible by poorly timed/badly produced music cues.
The action is a mixed bag. Half of the time there’s some really impressive stunt work and fun, tactile gore effects. The rest of the time it’s all shaky cam and an unlocked copy of After Effects doing the work. A scene in a cannibalistic meat processing facility has our hero hiding behind a dangling, inverted human corpse. He sticks his gun into the asshole of the corpse, effectively turning the corpse’s penis into a boner gun, which he uses to kill a Muzzle. It’s all done practically, and it’s crazy gross and hella fun. On the other end of the spectrum we have a charred little person who lives inside of a Muzzle’s jet pack, who emerges while airborne to shoot machine guns at our heroes. When we get a close up of the jet pack dwarf, it’s some of the worst imagery I’ve ever seen. It might as well be a child’s crayon drawing, it looks so crappy.
There are robots who talk with their mustaches, humans that have robot voices, a man who is impervious to bullets because he doesn’t believe in them, and more penises than would be normal in a movie explicitly about penises. I’m talking wall to wall dick here, and frankly, it’s almost refreshing to see male nudity handled with such crass abandon. It’s about time, really.
This all leads to a powerfully crackerz reveal that maybe sorta kinda just a little explains some of the weirdness of the film, but fails miserably to explain itself, and would be an utter failure in literally any other movie. But here in Bullets of Justice, the nonsense is right at home. This is truly one of the most aggressively bizarre and upsetting movies I have ever seen, and I watch a lot of very bizarre and upsetting movies. Whether the film intends to be this bananas or is just banking on a state of overall confusion after the fact is something I will never be equipped to determine, and if I’m being honest, nothing interests me less than trying to figure out the intentions here. I don’t want to know how the sausage is made or how the lovely assistant is cut in half — I just want to watch it happen. So yeah, bring on the blood-shitting, asshole-mouthed pig people, the incestuous action duo, the piles of dick, and the completely nonsensical narrative logic. Shock me, confuse me, offend me, leave me wondering why, in a life so fleeting, I am totally jazzed that I spent 79 baffling minutes of it with Bullets of Justice.
SHOW THIS MOVIE IN SCHOOLS.
Bullets of Justice is now available for digital rental.