According to the production notes, director Che-Kirk Wong actually had considerable confidence in the project. "The script was very original," explains Wong. "I enjoy doing action sequences, but action means nothing if we don't have decent characters. They're both equally important to me." Is Wong thinking of the same movie I just endured?
The Big Hit, a complete and obvious ripoff of Grosse Point Blank, follows the professional and romantic adventures of a young hitman named Melvin Smiley (Mark Wahlberg). We meet Mel and his buff, experienced associates named Cisco (Lou Diamond Phillips), Vince (Avery Brooks), and Crunch (Bokeem Woodbine) as they linger naked in a gym locker room.
This film's character development reaches a new level of nonsense. It isn't exactly stirring as we watch these four potty-mouthed characters discuss Crunch's recent discovery and love of masturbation. You see, he's been sexually active since he was ten years old. Therefore, he's never needed to explore himself. Isn't this information embracing? It's some of the film's most revealing. After this opening sequence, I was rooting for anyone but these hitmen.
We are propelled into an action sequence that sets the pace for the rest of the movie. The hitmen arrive at a high-rise building dressed like construction workers, but then pull out an arsenal of weapons and murder an aging hustler. But who is this person they kill? Why do the hitmen kill him? Throughout the film, many hundreds of rounds of ammunition are fired? Only a few find their way to a body. Have the bullets been programmed by the screenplay? The Big Hit provides us with a lot of question, but not a lot of answers.
The hitmen kidnap a foreign girl who turns out to be the goddaughter of their boss (Brooks). Cisco blames the mistake on Mel. Mel's life becomes even more complicated, however, when his mistress (Lela Rochon) flees with his earnings just as his fiancee's dysfunctional parents arrive for a visit.
I think we're supposed to concern ourselves with the increasing amount of tension and pressure placed on Mel, but it's not worth our time caring when he will blow his fuse. We never care about any of the characters, but Mel is the only character in The Big Hit who is actually annoying. Recessive, passive, and miserably acted, he is one of the most obvious, unconvincing, exasperating characters of the decade.
We cannot place the failure of the entire film on Mark Wahlberg's character alone, though. The biggest problem with The Big Hit deals with the total lack of emotions. The bland, boring, and blunt dialogue expresses the character's feelings, but we want to see them, not hear about them.
Here is another classic from the production notes: "Che-Kirk's always looking for a little bit more... how to make it more exciting, a little bit deeper, and a little bit more emotional. I think audiences will respond to that." Am I missing something? Respond to what? Stupid lines of dialogue that explain exactly how Mel feels about himself? That doesn't induce involvement; that induces boredom.
The Big Hit is advertised as a comedic action picture. The funniest thing about this movie is that the advertisers think this material is comedy? It's a pitiful sight when a movie tries to be funny. Laughs should come naturally--Grosse Point Blank was amusing and entertaining. Here, the material spends a tedious amount of time on jokes that are not funny. I almost laughed as the desperate comedic sequences fell flat on the ground. Almost.
The Big Hit should be titled The Big Miss. That's a really bad pun, but it's better than anything in this movie.
The big squat.
Run time: 91 mins
In Theaters: Friday 24th April 1998
Distributed by: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Production compaines: TriStar Pictures
Contactmusic.com: 1 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 41%
Fresh: 16 Rotten: 23
IMDB: 6.1 / 10
Director: Che-Kirk Wong
Screenwriter: Ben Ramsey
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