Bullet (1996 film)

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Bullet film.jpg
Directed by Julien Temple
Produced by Greg Coote
Graham Burke
John Flock
Roger Paradiso
Written by Mickey Rourke
Bruce Rubenstein
Starring Mickey Rourke
Tupac Shakur
Cinematography Crescenzo Notarile
Edited by Niven Howie
Distributed by New Line Cinema
Release date
  • October 1, 1996 (1996-10-01)
Running time
93 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Bullet is a 1996 American crime film directed by Julien Temple and starring Mickey Rourke, Tupac Shakur, Donnie Wahlberg, Adrien Brody, Ted Levine, and John Enos III. The screenplay was written by Bruce Rubenstein and Rourke, under a pseudonym. The film was released a month after Shakur's murder.

Mickey Rourke was also the music supervisor of the film. It had limited distribution in theaters in the United States. It was shot in New York City with a significant portion done in Brooklyn.


Butch "Bullet" Stein (Mickey Rourke) is a 35-year-old Jewish ex-convict and junkie, who is released from prison after serving a 8-year sentence for being an accomplice to a robbery, perpetrated by his friend, Irish-American gangster Paddy. After his release, Bullet and his best friend Lester (John Enos III) rob two teenagers for drugs. He also robs and stabs in the eye drug runner Flaco (Manny Perez), telling him to let his boss Tank (Tupac Shakur) know Bullet is back. He returns to Brooklyn to live with his dysfunctional family, including his alcoholic father, depressed mother and his two brothers, the older mentally unstable Vietnam veteran Louis, and his younger brother Ruby, an aspiring graffiti artist.

Tank is a local drug kingpin with a score to settle after Bullet stabbed him in the eye while they were serving time together. Bullet seems to welcome the challenge. Tank first pressures Paddy to find and deliver Bullet to him. Later, he tries to have him killed by having one of Paddy's dealers to sell Bullet drugs, laced with poison. This fails when the drug spot is robbed by gunmen, one of whom stabs Ruby through the hand with a knife in the process.

Over the course of the film, Bullet keeps himself occupied by shooting heroin and robbing his neighbor's house for jewelry, which he and Lester sell to an Italian-American gangster named "Frankie Eyelashes" (Larry Romano). He also encourages Ruby to follow his artistic dreams and has a deep friend-to-friend talk with Lester over whether Lester might be a closeted homosexual because of his mother abandoning him and his father's passing when he was a child, but he vehemently denies.

After the first failed attempt to kill Bullet, Tank gets one of his henchmen to start a fight with Bullet, which is witnessed by Louis. The fight ends in a draw when the henchman breaks his hand. Paddy figures out Tank's attempt to kill Bullet and that he is trying to play him and his associates against one another. He and his henchman Big Balls (Donnie Wahlberg) confront Tank about it, in the process killing two of his henchmen, including High Top (Michael K. Williams).

Bullet briefly returns home where he tells his mother he's sorry for everything he put her through over the years. He later goes to a nightclub with Ruby and Lester. Paddy tries to help him escape because Tank is on the way to kill him. Bullet then accepts his fate when he is cornered by Tank and his men and has a final showdown with Tank, who shoots him dead to Ruby's horror.

Soon after Bullet's funeral, Louis gets revenge by sneaking up on an unsuspecting Tank as he tries to enter his club and proceeding to cut Tank's throat, killing him. Louis then leaves Bullet's pet rat (named after Tony Curtis) on the dead body, exclaiming "Payback's a motherfucker" (a line which Tank said to Bullet when he had his henchman battle Bullet). The final shot of the film ends with Louis watching as Bullet's rat is about to feast on Tank's corpse.



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