Video: A scene from Bullet in the Face (Wrap Yourself in Jewels and Kill Her)
Eddie Izzard plays a snow globe loving Heinrich Tannhauser and one of three glorious mega villains in the futuristic crime spoof Bullet in the Face. Set in the city of Brutville a rivalry exists between crime bosses Tannhauser and Rachen (played by the big bro of Julia Roberts – Eric Roberts), who are at war for the biggest villain status of the city.
The catch is the one time hitman for Tannhauser, the sadistic sociopath Gunter Vogler (Max E. Williams), is now working for the Brutville Police Department trying to have them locked away so he can overrule the city.
Coke sniffing Gunter has recently been shot in the face, but is reluctantly saved due to a clever face transplant with a cop from the Brutville Police, that Gunter had previously murdered. The transplant is the idea of the brutish Police Commissioner, Eva Braden (Jessica Steen) who is using Gunter to track down Tannhauser.
In one episode Gunter starts to have flashbacks from the dead cop recalling himself in compromising situations. Meanwhile Gunter’s heavy pregnant girlfriend Martine is shacking up with both Tannhauser and Rachen in a bid to cover her bases in the violent kingpin war.
Wisecracks from the narcissistic Gunter and agoraphobic Tannhauser are the highlights in the show, but no character in the show is truly likeable (despite me loving to hear Eddie learning how to say “you are a filthy slut” in Mandarin to his girlfriend, Martine).
In one sticky predicament Gunter declares to his would be assassin “Go ahead and chop my head off, this isn’t even my face!” In the same episode the use of decapitated heads of victims become a wonderful play on oral sex jokes and visual humour in lots of scenes of heads being thrown around the room.
I was initially turned off this gem of a comedy spoof due to a scathing review in the Green Guide of The Age. Admittedly, this type of comedy will not be to everyone’s comedic tastes – but if you like a bit of dark or cheesy humour you need to give it a shot as it’s so bad it’s good. It’s got Eddie Izzard in it for fuck’s sake! Do you not trust a genius?
The comedy style reminds me of Garth Margheni’s Darkplace which was a hospital serial crossed with a horror spoof and starred some of the cast from the IT Crowd. Bullet in the Face also has the kind of silliness found in the Police Squad! TV series which led to the Naked Gun movies, which is very perceptive of me as I have since discovered one of the writers is from a subsequent Naked Gun franchise!
The spoof in Bullet in the Face is a mixture of a hard-boiled crime, futuristic dystopia, and serial killer genres morphed into one with lots of slapstick thrown in to boot. The cinematography is very clever for a low budget show with elements of film noir and comic books reminiscent of Sin City. I found the series finale the most funny, so allow the first 5 episodes some time to warm you up and you will be rewarded with some little comedic nuggets along the way.
The theme song is also short but hilariously addictive to listen to. Is he good, is he bad? Psychopath or sexy cad?
Series One of Bullet in the Face is currently airing on SBS Two On Demand in Australia over the next couple of weeks. See it before it disappears because the world isn’t silly enough for this kinda clever stuff.
Other samples you might enjoy: