The Big Hit (1998)

“Melvin, pal, the hundred or so people you’ve murdered over the past five years probably have relatives that don’t think too highly of you.”

Justin’s Rating: Lock and load!

Justin’s Review: Back in the early days of Mutant Reviewers we had a problem coming up with unique categories for the movies we reviewed. After a while the whole effort degenerated into a stream-of-consciousness posting before we revamped the system a couple times to what it is today. However, one of the “categories” we noticed that kept popping up in quite a few of the flicks we covered was that they were about hit men. Hit men with a heart of gold. And it’s true — there seems to be this repeating Hollywood trend of writing main characters who kill people for money… but it’s okay! They’re likable people who really aren’t so bad!

Well, that makes it A-OK in my view. It’s also why most drug dealers are really misunderstood poets, why gang leaders are misunderstood father figures with colorful tattoos, and why Adolf Hitler just wanted to do musical theater in a nice quiet nightclub.

The Big Hit owes roughly 100% of its content to Hong Kong action flicks, where high-tension cops and assassins jump around in tea shops like bunny rabbits with twin pistols. Aww… so cute. It’s only difference is the American hit men and a vaguely more Americanized setting. Even still, one of the love interests is Asian, and there’s no mistaking the fight sequence style here went up behind John Woo, hit him with a tire iron, and made off with his Wallet of Action Cues.

This movie follows the nicest “Nice Guy” hit man (Mark Wahlberg, aka Dirk “do NOT watch the last scene in Boogie Nights” Diggler) around as he gets stomped on by his two girlfriends, fellow hit men, and video store clerks. The moral lesson here is, nice guys really do finish last, even if they have enough high-caliber bullets to their name. Wahlberg takes on a contract that goes “typically” wrong when he’s tasked with abducting a high-spirited girl who hits on his love muscle. Feeling betrayed that they were being left out of the goodie section of the store, his co-workers come for his head, and there’s all sorts of comedy and bullets flying every which way.

The action sequences are both unbelievable and so very sweet. It goes over the top, but in a fun, gimme-more way. I personally loved it because it could be entitled “The Revenge Of Every Nice Guy Who’s Had To Take It Smiling”, but the poster for that would have to be bigger than a certain NY-stompin’ lizard. It’s funny and gory, touching (maybe) and thrilling, perfect for any date as long as they’re both guys. Oh, and see it if for nothing else than to see a video store get totally demolished. I worked in one for three years, and never had anything that exciting ever happen. Sigh.

Kym’s Rating: Three and a half Tarantinos out of five

Kym’s Review: Well, what can I say about this movie? I liked it, but it was not as good as I had hoped that it could be. I am a huge fan of Tarantino, and the entire time I kept thinking this film was trying so hard to be one of that demigod’s movies (yes, I know you hate him, Justin), but was just a bit short.

It certainly had it’s moments, though, and I’m a huge fan of Mark Wahlberg (has nothing to do with the fact that he’s an underwear model, I swear!), and I enjoyed his acting, as I usually do. The characters in this film were interesting to watch (including a pissed-off video store clerk, and as a former one of those, I can relate), the action sequences were incredible and pretty funny, and there was even handcuffs prominently featured (does anyone know where you can get a pair of real ones?). All in all, not a bad flick, but go see Pulp Fiction instead.

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