Review: Bullet In The Face: The Complete Series
Today sees the DVD release of the complete series from IFC and Sledge Hammer! creator Alan Spencer, Bullet in the Face. The oddly titled show is inspired by things like graphic novels, film/crime/neo- noir, and Quentin Tarantino. The six-episode series stars Max E. Williams, Neil Napier, Jessica Steen, Kate Kelton, Eric Roberts, and the hilarious Eddie Izzard. To say Bullet in the Face is insane would be an understatement, but should you pick up the DVD from Shout! Factory or is watching it a worse punishment than the one touted in the title?
Bullet in the Face is about a violent, criminal sociopath named Gunter Vogler (Max Williams) who gets shot in the face by his lady love while they’re robbing a jewelry store. Gunter is especially incensed considering Martine (Kate Kelton) told him she was pregnant with his child. Before being shot in the face, Gunter killed a hotshot police officer (also Max Williams). Gunter wakes up in the hospital after having his life saved by a face transplant. Now sporting the face of the cop he killed, Gunter is convinced to work with the cops to bring down the city’s two big mob bosses (Eric Roberts and Eddie Izzard). Gunter has to live his life as the man he killed, even being forced to team up with his murder victim’s partner, the emotional cop Hagerman (Neil Napier). Gunter wants his face back, but that doesn’t seem possible. He can live his life like he used to if he takes down the agoraphobic Tannhauser (Izzard) and the vicious but dumb Racken (Roberts). Things get even more complicated when Martine comes back into Gunter’s life. Can a sociopath who would love nothing more than to see the city burn be it’s savior? Can the police reign in an entity of pure evil even if it has a good cop’s face?
This is a show that grows on you as you go through the episodes, and even after you’ve watched it. It’s a funny and gritty show that sends up a lot of tropes in film noir and comics. It has an oddly hypnotic theme song, but it’s Max Williams that keeps you from tuning out. I didn’t fully appreciate the show until I was at about the halfway mark. Williams is the star of the show in every sense. Eddie Izzard gives a great performance as the agoraphobic crime lord, but Williams’ utter insanity is compelling. He channels some Joker into his performance, and now I would really like to see how he would do with the actual role. Imagine if The Joker got Bruce Wayne’s face and then you’re starting to scratch the surface of this story. The six-episodes are fast, sharp, violent, and incredibly witty. This is Sin City meets The Naked Gun.
As far as special features go, the disc only contains a commentary track for every episode from creator Alan Spencer. It’s a little light. After watching this you’re left wanting to see see some cast interviews or something along those lines, but the show largely speaks for itself. It’s a crazy, pulp, comic book infused story that you can’t look away from.
Bottom Line: Bullet in the Face is a blast of insanity that you can’t help but love. This is definitely a contender for cult status, and it would rightfully deserve that. It takes a little while for you to warm up to, but the over the top Joker-like performance Williams gives will pull you in. You can find out more about the DVD on Shout! Factory’s website by clicking here. A-