Monday, February 15, 2010

Henpecked Hitman must find spine or die

The Big Hit (1998)
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Lou Diamond Phillips, and China Chow
Director: Che-Kirk Wong
Rating: Five of Ten Stars

Melvin (Wahlberg) is a deadly, highly paid hitman who is so mild-mannered and timid in his personal life that his live-in girlfriend anc co-workers walk all over him, his other girlfriend is bleeding him dry of all his money, and manager of the local video rental store pushes him around. But when he is framed as the front man in the kidnapping of a Japanese industrialist's daughter (Chow), Melvin must stand up for himself or die.

"The Big Hit" is a fun action comedy featuring one of those characters who only exists in fiction: an assassin who's a really nice guy if you can overlook the whole murderer thing. While he may only killed really bad people (and a few who irritated), Melvin is a great guy who anyone would like to have a friend... and who would have been very happy in life if everyone around weren't more realistic characters in the sense that they are mostly exploitive, lazy, criminally minded scumbags.

Lou Diamond Phillips plays the lead scumbag and he does a fantastic job at it. He plays Chico who is the exact opposite of Whalberg's Melvin. Chico is a lazy braggart who takes advantage of Melvin at every opportunity and claims credit for Melvin's hard work in both setting up and executing the hits they perform. As much as we like Melvin, we're disgusted by Phillips and his obnoxious swaggering. As much as we want to see Melvin get relief from his situation, we want to see Chico get burned.

Storywise, this is a predictable movie that's full of stock characters and cartoony action and fight sequences. Melvin is the only character that has even the slightest bit of depth to him and even then he is something of a cliche. The movie delivers enough plot-twists and action sequences to be entertaining, but it is not a classic by an means.

"The Big Hit" is worth watching if you're a big fan of lighthearted crime dramas, but it is fairly mediocre with the exception of the performances given by stars Wahlberg and Phillips.

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