Reviewed by: Brian Nigro
There is exactly one—count it, one—really great scene in “The Big Hit”, a sometimes-satire, sometimes-action—overall really lopsided—take on the growing “hitman-with-a-conscience” genre. After discovering they kidnapped the wrong person, some fellow hitmen pay a visit to aw-shucks Melvin (Mark Wahlberg) at a family dinner with his unsuspecting ex-fiancee Pam (Christina Applegate) and her parents Morton (Elliot Gould) and Jean (Lainie Kazan). With obviously-inebriated dad carrying on about this and that, the hitmens' guns are pointed at Melvin under the tablecloth—and, when dad trips off the tablecloth, the gunfire starts. Not exactly model Christian behavior, but extremely well-done filmmaking for the genre.
That one scene was five minutes.
The whole movie is over two hours long.
“The Big Hit” has the unfortunate commercial budget to be part of the current wave of post-Hong Kong action movies. (It was produced by John Woo, who also brought the dreadful “Replacement Killers” to Hollywood earlier this year.) It is rather annoying to watch this, with all its profanity, violence, and nudity, and ask yourself, “Gee, how much of this is commercial and how much is artistic?”
Here’s the basic premise: A moronic group of hitmen take a side job kidnapping a rich Japanese businessman’s daughter (China Chow). Unbeknownst to them, she’s also the godchild of their boss Paris (Avery Brooks)—who picks Cisco (Lou Diamond Philips) to find the kidnappers. The only problem is, HE’S one of the kidnappers, so to avoid responsiblity, he leads his cohorts to Melvin (Mark Wahlberg), who’s got major girl problems on his hand.
Aside from all the profanity and violence, a lot of Christians may take offense at the appallingly inane cultural stereotypes—specifically, all the insinuations about Japanese and Jewish people. Where do they kidnap the businessman’s daughter? Why, a prep school of course. And, audiences expecting Christina Applegate to repeat her Kelly Bundy role from TV’s “Married With Children”, for example, will find her in a Brooklyn-Bridge-Method of acting. It really doesn’t work at all.
“The Big Hit” is generally unsuitable for Christian audiences, except for fans of the genre—and even then, not very good. PARENTS: This is not a movie for kids.