In the vile, mislabeled “thriller” Bullet Head, three brainless thieves flee a botched heist and hide out in a warehouse occupied by a vicious, bloodthirsty dog. The thugs do not realize that the cavernous premises are used by a crime boss named Blue (Antonio Banderas) as a dumping ground for the corpses of vicious dogs slaughtered in illegal dogfights. The fights are listed on the wall, with the winners and losers all named after movie stars. The sole mastiff, brutally wounded and understandably miffed, who guards the exits is called De Niro, and he gives a performance that is far superior to most of the performances given lately by his namesake. He’s one of the rare survivors and he’s out for revenge. For the next hour and 34 minutes, the unlucky goons who infringe on his territory argue, fight, and babble incoherently a lot of dialogue by writer-director Paul Solet like, “There are only three kinds of last scores—the kind where you serve life, the kind where you serve the bullet, and the kind where you walk away.” If you’re smart, you’ll be the kind who walks away.
The hoods are played by John Malkovich, Adrien Brody and their younger junkie comrade Rory Culkin. Of the three, Malkovich has built a career mumbling his way through one disastrous movie after another, but this time he’s got company. You can’t decipher more than half of what the other two say, either. All of them tell dog stories illustrated in flashbacks while the kid drives a needle into his veins and dies of a gruesome heroin overdose.
The warehouse is also used to store other things besides piles of dead dogs—things like power saws and musical instruments. This contrivance serves as an excuse to vary the settings and give the actors extra things to do, like hide inside the guts of a grand piano. Eventually the crime boss shows up, providing the viewer with ample opportunities to ponder whatever happened to the once-promising career of Antonio Banderas. They all come to a bad end, including De Niro, who deserves a gold doggie biscuit for dangerous canine stunts, as well as what he goes through to upstage ham actors and steal what’s left of a pointless exercise in growling, snapping tedium.