The Austin Chronicle

9 Bullets

Not rated, 97 min. Directed by Gigi Gaston. Starring Lena Headey, Sam Worthington, Dean Scott Vasquez, Cam Gigandet, La La Anthony, Barbara Hershey.

REVIEWED By Richard Whittaker, Fri., April 22, 2022

Old stories don't go away; they just get smaller budgets. Take the old tale of the grumpy and begrudging guardian of a kid who was witness to a crime and now is the only person that can take down a crime syndicate. Think Harrison Ford in Witness or Mercury Rising, and now there's 9 Bullets, in which Lena Headey takes a tween bitcoin trader (Vasquez) on the lam from Sam Worthington as a redneck gangster who complains about his girlfriend serving carrots.

9 Bullets wants to think it's cool and edgy by having Gypsy be a former burlesque performer who is working on her new book (which you can tell because her straight-from-central-casting agent calls her like a minor character from a Nineties sitcom), and having her slowly warm to parenthood. However, that's overshadowed by some garbage filmmaking, like a bag of money buried two inches underground, or the characters sitting by a pool in what is clearly the late afternoon, watching a sky full of stars. Even if moments like that could slide past audiences, lousy plotting and beyond questionable character motivations bring the story to a constant, grinding halt. Even the addition of Anthony as Tamsin, an equally unwilling sidekick/accidental hostage, and dropping by a motel run by Lacey, Gypsy's former college professor (Hershey), fails to bring anything of importance. Those additions are seemingly supposed to add thematic relevance about women coming together under extraordinary circumstances, with stripper Tamsin and intellectual Lacey seemingly representing the two sides of Gypsy (a wild and insulting cliche about dancers and sex workers being dumb crooks if ever there was one). But instead 9 Bullets just constantly misfires, and never gets better than the inadvertent comedy of Worthington pulling a gun on a dog as a negotiating tactic.

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