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The Big Hit
cast: Mark Wahlberg, Lou Diamond Phillips, Christina Applegate, Avery Brooks, and Elliott Gould

director: Che-Kirk Wong

88 minutes (18) 1998
Columbia Tristar VHS retail

RATING: 8/10
reviewed by Ian Shutter
Melvin is an assassin with girl trouble: two girls trouble. Hopelessly in debt as a result of his double-life philandering, he foolishly becomes involved in a plot to kidnap the teenage daughter of a Japanese tycoon. What he and the rest of his gang don't know is that the father is bankrupt, and the girl is their Mafioso boss' goddaughter...
   Splendidly OTT comedy thriller, co-produced by Wesley Snipes, starring Mark (The Corruptor, Three Kings) Wahlberg and Lou Diamond Phillips (from Bats), The Big Hit is a lively bullet-fest in the distinctive manner of a John Woo action movie. There are shootouts rivalling the manic intensity of Leon (aka: The Professional, 1994), and comedy situations almost as much fun as Hostile Hostages. The hunky Wahlberg (alias pop star 'Marky' Mark) plays Melvin as a likeable fall guy with just enough sympathy - like Brad Pitt, but without the charm, he's reportedly popular with female audiences - that we really don't want him to get killed, even when what he's doing is both amoral and vicious.
   Their surprise casting is ignored by this video's promo blurb, but Avery (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) Brooks and the once-great Elliott Gould bring welcome doses of formidable menace and slapstick humour to the less frenetic dialogue scenes, creating stereotyped but commendable stock characters, granting a much needed sense of balance to the frequent stunt sequences (the hair-raising bungee jump down a stairwell is a wow) and exciting car chases.
   A case of Stockholm syndrome turns to a kosher gourmet seduction; hapless Melvin's required to return an overdue video rental (tacky cult fave King Kong Lives!), stretch-limos are hijacked, phone call tracers are busted by handmade gizmos, while $1 million ransom is collected, eventually. The Big Hit has all this and Christina Applegate's definitely perky butt. What more could action fanboys want?

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