The Big Hit

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Melvin Smiley (Mark Wahlberg) is a hitman leading a secret life as well as maintaining two relationships, one with the demanding and demeaning Chantel (Lela Rochon), who doesn’t accept his work, and another with Pam (Christina Applegate), who knows nothing of his job. Melvin is somewhat of a pushover, trying to appease all of Chantel’s demands, even her most expensive wishes, as well as rolling over whenever one of his co-workers takes credit for his achievements. Perhaps as a result of his helplessness in asserting himself, throughout the early scenes Melvin is often seen drinking Maalox to relieve an incipient ulcer.

Feeling underpaid for their work for mob boss Paris (Avery Brooks), the assassin team of Smiley, Cisco (Lou Diamond Phillips), Crunch (Bokeem Woodbine), Vince (Antonio Sabato Jr.), and Gump (Robin Dunne) take an independent job, kidnapping Keiko Nishi (China Chow), the teenage daughter of local electronics magnate Jiro Nishi (Sab Shimono), for a hefty ransom. Unfortunately, the team does not realize that Nishi has recently gone bankrupt over his failed foray into motion pictures — and furthermore, their boss Paris is the girl’s godfather. Enlisted by the group to hold Keiko, Melvin has to hide the bound and gagged schoolgirl on his property, attempting to keep her presence hidden from Pam and her parents, who are coming for dinner. Melvin feels sorry for the girl, and relieves her from her bondage. In the ensuing hours they build up a rapport preparing dinner together, an act which leads into a love scene reminiscent of the pottery scene from Ghost, but which is cut short when Keiko attempts to escape.

Ordered by Paris to discover the kidnappers of his goddaughter, a panicked Cisco kills Gump, but not before coaxing him into also implicating Melvin for the kidnapping. A team of assassins crash Melvin’s dinner with Pam’s family, leading to a shootout during which Melvin realizes Pam was going to break up with him under pressure from her stereotypically Jewish mother (Lainie Kazan). Melvin and Keiko’s feelings for each other lead them to form an awkward romance, and she and Melvin attempt to escape from the fiasco, pursued by Cisco. In the chaos, Melvin happens to run into Chantel and finally takes the opportunity to stand up to her and end their relationship. An extended fight erupts, culminating at a video store where the ever-honest Melvin stops to return an overdue tape. Melvin kills Cisco, but not before Cisco arms an explosive device. Melvin leaves the building and is confronted by Keiko, her father and Paris. He re-enters the building, which explodes. Paris and Keiko, believing Melvin to be dead, call off the manhunt. Soon Melvin is revealed to have survived, sheltered from the blast by an enormous solid gold film stand-up made for the flop that destroyed Nishi’s career. In the end of the film Melvin and Keiko are reunited and ride off together. Nishi recoups his losses by making a film out of the story of his daughter’s kidnapping

REVIEW:

Please excuse the rushed crudity of this post on The Big Hit. I am trying to watch and write at the same time so that I can be finished in time to fully devote myself to a major event that is airing within the hour. So, let’s get to it!

What is this about?

Four enterprising hit men kidnap a wealthy executive’s daughter but overlook a few crucial details — including that she’s their boss’s goddaughter.

What did I like?

Off the Enterprise. Avery Brooks is best known for his role on one of those Star Trek spinoffs that was syndicated in the mid to late 90s. Forgive me for not being a Trekkie and not knowing every incarnation of the Enterprise and her crew. As has been apparent, being on most incarnations of that show can lead to type-casting as not many actors who were regulars on those shows do much else besides other sci-fi shows and comic cons, Patrick Stewart being the most notable exception. Seeing Brooks do something else shows how talented the guy actually is. I wonder why we haven’t seen him in anything else.

Nice guys don’t always finish last. There was an ongoing joke a few years back were Mark Wahlberg was the consummate nice guy, asking everyone how they were and how their family was doing. I can’t help but think that this character had some influence on that, unless there was something else that I missed. This is early in Wahlberg’s career, so he’s still young, and it shows, but for this character youth pays off. Not to mention he gets the girl in the end. Who says nice guys finish last, huh?

(Lou) Diamond (Phillips) in the rough. The last time I believe that I saw Lou Diamond Phillips, he was getting attacked by stuffed animals at the end of the “Radioactive” video by Imagine Dragons. Here’s the thing, this is a guy who is supremely talented, but for some odd reason, he has never really gotten the big break. Playing this hitman who loses it shows the audience a different side of Phillips that we haven’t seen before. Perhaps we need to see more of this. I know that I was impressed with what I saw. He was calm, cool, suave, and collected throughout the first part of the film, then a switch was flipped and he went insane. I loved it!

What didn’t I like?

Jewish parents. Let me preface this by saying that I have nothing against those that follow the Jewish faith. However, I didn’t really see the need for Christina Applegate and her parents to be Jewish, other than comic relief. Yes, they worked, but was it really necessary? They could have very easily been Baptist, Methodist, Atheist, or some other religion and just had funny personalities. While I’m on this topic, Applegate as a Jewish girl does not work. Something about her accent made her sound like Kelly Bundy meets the Jersey Shore. Not exactly the reaction that she would want, I’m sure.

Chow down. The fight between Wahlberg and Phillips in the video store in the final act, yes I said video store, is pretty epic. It makes you wish that there was more action in this so-called action comedy. After all the dust clears and the credits start rolling, it says “introducing China Chow.” Who is China Chow? Well, in this film, she is the girl who gets kidnapped and ends up falling for Wahlberg’s character. I’m not sure she warrants an introduction, though, as she doesn’t do anything of note in the film, and since the release of this film, hasn’t done much of anything, except a couple of episodes of Burn Notice, so what was the point of introducing her, really?

Lela. Sakes alive, Lela Rochon is drop dead gorgeous! Such a shame she’s a total bitch in this film, though. There isn’t a scene than she’s in where she’s not yelling at someone, except for when she has a gun pointed to her head, then she shuts up. Strange enough, how that happens, huh? I have to wonder how this shrew of a woman ended up with Wahlberg. No wonder he was cheating on her. Geez!

So, The Big Hit was not a big hit for me. I was looking for something more action comedy and what I got was the inbred child of Goodfellas and Ocean’s 11. Would I recommend this to anyone? Not really. I didn’t even know about this film until earlier this year when I happened to run across it while flipping through the channels late at night. While I won’t say avoid this, it isn’t worth your time.

2 3/4 out of 5 stars

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