Bullet in the Face (TV)
Directed by Erik Canuel
Created by Alan Spencer
Considering the summer season for television mainly offers reruns, dime-a-dozen police procedural series and reality shows as far as Ryan Seacrest’s greedy eye can see, it comes as a welcome surprise to see a show come along that is neither formulaic nor mundane, and IFC’s newest original scripted series "Bullet in the Face" proudly exhibits those qualities as it is probably the most bizarre and violent sitcom ever to be aired.
Wearing its cold, bloody heart on its sleeve, "Bullet in the Face" takes place in the fictional city of Bruteville, a crime-ridden metropolis (which is best described as an amalgamation of Gotham City and Basin City) run by the merciless, agoraphobic crime lord Tannhauser (Izzard) and his rival, the senseless crime lord Racken (Roberts).
The gory dark comedy quite literally starts off with a bang as viewers are introduced to the quirky yet sadistic German criminal Gunter Vogler (Williams), who is immediately betrayed and shot in the face by his pregnant, albeit deadly femme fatale girlfriend, Martine (Kelton), at a botched jewel heist.
After awakening in the hospital, Gunter is horrified to learn his face has been replaced with that of an honorable cop he killed moments before being shot. He is then forced to work undercover for the frisky Commissioner Braden (Steen) with grief-stricken and accident-prone partner Lieutenant Hagerman (Napier) in order to get his face back and revenge on his girlfriend and former boss who deceived him. Hilarity, stabbings and the greatest torture device involving popcorn kernels and a blow-dryer ensue.
Like other innovative and genre-bending shows, "Bullet in the Face" faces the challenge of being too unusual and off-kilter for conventional audiences; however, series creator Alan Spencer and director Erik Canuel deliver a twisted and funny show with solid visual flair, macabre joviality and scabrous humor that will manage to please those seeking something different on television.
Despite the fact that the show has a cheesy as hell opening credit sequence, ridiculous European accents and is obviously very low-budget, it stands out with memorable moments that include Gunter killing innocent bystanders on a basketball court for absolutely no reason, a sobbing Hagerman getting a lapdance, an epic chick fight involving a pregnant woman and a post-op transgendered woman and an unintentional game of hot potato with a decapitated head that will surely get laughs.
Eddie Izzard and Eric Roberts may steal every scene they are in with their humorous portrayals as the rival crime lords; yet. it is Max Williams who is truly the star of the show with his twisted portrayal of anti-hero Gunter Vogler. The rest of the cast also manage to shine in their roles, providing many laughs to the absurdity.
What "Bullet in the Face" lacks in depth, it makes up for in violence, and there is enough perversion and outright craziness to placate to viewers looking for more than the average sitcom fare.
Make sure to catch "Bullet in the Face" when it premieres on IFC on August 16 and 17 at 10/9c.
4 out of 5