“Bullet Head” provides an answer to one of contemporary cinema’s enduring mysteries: What if “Reservoir Dogs” had an actual dog? In the director Paul Solet’s endearingly lunkheaded thriller, three thieves, reeling from a partly botched heist, hide in a warehouse whose only other living occupant is a vicious, implacable Canary mastiff.
The dog, who gets his own point-of-view shots and flashbacks, has been made violent by a crime boss, Blue (Antonio Banderas). Blue has just cleaned up at a dogfight on the premises and will soon return. (The ring is evidently run by cinephiles; the dogs are named after actors like Clint Eastwood and Robert Mitchum.)
All three robbers — Stacy (Adrien Brody), Walker (John Malkovich) and Gage (Rory Culkin) — have histories with pets. This leads to dialogue in which Walker and Stacy discuss the qualities of cat people and dog people (“Being a cat person doesn’t necessarily make you less of a man,” Walker says); how a standard poodle once saved Stacy from being arrested; and the unfortunate incident in which a young Walker intermingled stolen freshwater and saltwater fish.
Is “Bullet Head” good? In truth, it’s drab, derivative and more than slightly silly, but it’s tough to dislike like a movie that proceeds as if the 1990s cycle of Quentin Tarantino knockoffs never ended and that uses the prospect of gory canine violence in service of loud and persistent pro-dog cheerleading. The closing credits say that a portion of the movie’s proceeds will go toward eliminating dogfighting.