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The 100




Big Hit, The
(1998)
Reviewed by Jason Coffman
Rating: 10 Beans

ong Kong Action Movies." If you've seen one, you know what the idea is: Boy Scout mentality, honor and goodness, tons of people being killed, and fantastically stylized direction. Just the concept is cool; anyone who's seen "Hard Boiled" could tell you that. So when a director known for this style of film is brought over to Hollywood to give it a shot, some people naturally get excited. I used to be.

Then I saw "Double Team." And looked more carefully at the press releases for the latest Jean-Claude Van Damme films. All the imported directors have been forced to helm terrible first projects (John Woo's "Hard Target" is a particularly notable example). Kirk Wong's ("Crime Story," "Rock and Roll Cop") Hollywood debut is no different; in fact, it's the worst one I've seen yet.

Things start off with Melvin Smiley (Mark Wahlberg, who I still call "Marky Mark" out of habit) disposing of a victim in his girlfriend's house. It soon becomes clear that Melvin is not particularly a likable character. He is, as his kidnapping victim (China Chow) later says, "whipped." Sadly, though, he is the most likable character in the entire film. His girlfriend (Lela Rochon) is hateful, his fiancee and her family (Christina Applegate, Elliott Gould, and Lainie Kazan) are unbearably annoying Jewish stereotypes, and then there's Lou Diamond Phillips.

I guess this is a spoiler, but not really. The best thing that this movie does is kill Lou Diamond Phillips. He is impossibly off-putting. Yes, he's supposed to be a villain and all, but a villain should at least be watchable. Every one of Phillips' lines feel like they were pulled from "Ghetto-Slang! The White Man's Guide to Hip-Hop Jive" by Vanilla Ice. Unfortunately, pretty much every character is written the same way. The only one who seems right is Avery Brooks ("Deep Space Nine") as Paris, the employer of Melvin and his friends. None of whom you want to see live.

I would go into more of the plot, but it's not at all worth it since I could barely make it out. Combining slang so thick the writer of "Disorderlies" would be bewildered with an almost complete lack of action scenes (two, one near the beginning that's fun and one at the end which falls completely flat), absolutely no character development and some of the least funny "comedy" elements ever to shame 35mm film, "The Big Hit" is the easily one of the worst movies ever made. Do not see this and expect to laugh. Or be vaguely interested in what's going on. Any movie whose principal morals are "Being a hit man doesn't necessarily mean that you're a bad person" and "Never give a Jew liquor" is not one that anyone should ever want to be involved with, let alone watch. Avoid at all costs.


Other reviews for this movie:

Randal Chou
Nathan Johnston




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