Big Hit, The(SE)/D+,A

Columbia/1998/91m/ANA 1.85

         Black comedy is difficult to pull off. Black action comedy is even more difficult. The Big Hit, with style imported from Hong Kong, tries the black comedy route with little success. Occasionally I found myself laughing along with the filmmakers, but for the most part my laughter was punctuated with the realization that it was pretty stupid.  The Big Hit is a film about a lovable hit man involved in mayhem and kidnapping, dealing casually in chopped bodies, and amorous adventures. 

Melvin controls the situation.©Columbia

      Mark Wahlberg plays killer Melvin Smiley (Great name, huh!) as part innocent, and part wannabe suburban family man. He’s a sap for his women, and even a sucker to his criminal cohorts. He brings an equal amount of manic energy to his loves and his crimes, but the hyper activity just misses being funny. The producers would love to capture some of the charm and comic style that Jackie Chan has brought to umpteen Hong Kong flicks, but Wahlberg isn’t up to the task.  Lou Diamond Phillips has the impossible task of making partner in crime Cisco more interesting than a minor distraction in a violent cartoon. Elliot Gould provides the only real laughter as Morton, the father of Melvin’s girlfriend. Take another drink Morton. You deserve it.
     Who would ever thought
The Big Hit would be made into a special edition, but here it is. Not just one, but two audio commentary tracks are included. Track one features director Che-Kirk Wong and producer Terrence Chang. Track two contains the comments of screenwriter Ben Ramsey. There are also deleted scenes for The Big Hit devotees. Wong observations are very frank, perhaps even crude. He describes a locker room scene early on, relating the saga of Bokeem Woodbine”s big “thing,” and I’ve got to tell you, it’s something I never quite thought I would hear on a special edition. Well, he also talks about the stunt men. The image quality is first-rate. High key contrast means images that jump off the screen. Black level retention is excellent through varied explosions.  Along with the visual pyrotechnics, there’s an abundance of snap to the picture and the Dolby Digital surround provides lots of crunch.












































































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