Bullet (1996 film)

Bullet is a 1996 American crime drama film directed by Julien Temple and starring Mickey Rourke, Tupac Shakur, Donnie Wahlberg, Adrien Brody, Ted Levine, John Enos III, and featuring an early appearance by Peter Dinklage. The screenplay was written by Bruce Rubenstein and Rourke, under the pseudonym 'Sir' Eddie Cook. The film was released a month after Shakur's murder.

Directed byJulien Temple
Produced byJohn Flock
Written byMickey Rourke
Bruce Rubenstein
Music byRandall Poster
CinematographyCrescenzo Notarile
Edited byNiven Howie
Distributed byNew Line Cinema
Release date
  • October 1, 1996 (1996-10-01)
Running time
96 minutes
CountryUnited States

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 in 1994 with a significant portion done in Brooklyn.[1] Rourke and Shakur became friends on and off the set.


Butch "Bullet" Stein (Mickey Rourke) is a 35-year-old wigger Jewish-American convict and junkie, who is released from prison on parole after serving an 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 (Ted Levine), and his younger brother Ruby (Adrien Brody), 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 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 denies it.

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.



  1. DAVID STRATTON (April 5, 1997). "Bullet". Variety.
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