Big Hit [1998]

Film fans might someday recognize 1997 and '98 as the years Hong Kong came to Hollywood. Stars Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, Chow Yun-Fat, Jet Li, and Michelle Yeoh all appeared in major Hollywood projects and directors John Woo, Ronny Yu, and Tsui Hark directed Face/Off, Bride of Chucky, and Knock Off, respectively. Another entry into this new era of entertainment is The Big Hit, directed by Che-Kirk Wong (who also directed Jackie Chan in Crime Story), executive produced by John Woo, and produced by Wesley Snipes. Mark Wahlberg leads this all-American cast in a played-for-laughs macho blowout. Rounding out the testosterone brigade are Lou Diamond Phillips (sprouting a gold-capped tooth and a dirty mouth), Bokeem Woodbine (who, according to this DVD's director audio track, wore extra socks where it counts), Antonio Sabàto Jr., and Avery Brooks. Wahlberg plays Melvin Smiley, a nice-guy hit man with an ulcer and a severe insecurity problem. He's short on cash due to the spending habits of his unsuspecting fiancée Pam (Christina Applegate) and his girlfriend-on-the-sly Chantel (Lela Rochon). He and his crew decide to do a little freelancing and cook up their own heist to make a little mo' money--specifically by kidnapping Keiko (China Chow), the daughter of a Japanese businessman whom they target for ransom. Little do they know her dad is broke and she's the goddaughter of their boss. The Big Hit has action scenes aplenty (one of the stunt coordinators worked on Woo's The Killer and Bullet in the Head) and the same cornball sense of humor as other films in the Hong Kong action genre. Slick pacing and over-the-top humor made this movie a miss with the critics but a fun ride for fans of Hong Kong-styled action. --Shannon Gee

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