The Big Hit (1998)

May 13, 2011 § Leave a comment

Mark Wahlberg and Christina Applegate in 'The Big Hit'

Written by Ben Ramsey

Directed by Kirk Wong

Starring Mark Wahlberg, Avery Brooks, Christina Applegate, Lou Diamond Phillips, China Chow and Elliott Gould

The Big Hit is a clever mash up of Woody Allen-style humor and Hong Kong style action, with an oddly sweet lead performance by Mark Wahlberg as the honorable, sensitive hit man Melvin Smiley, whose being over run by enemies and in-laws on a very crucial business weekend as he’s trying to maintain control over the kidnapped daughter of a rival boss, a job which has been orchestrated by his immature and crafty associates played by Lou Diamond Phillips, Bokeem Woodbine and Antonio Sabato, Jr. as psychotic slacker clowns, in for the money but not the hard work or even the glory.

On the other side is Wahlberg’s Jewish wife (Christina Applegate), his shrill, materialistic mistress (Lela Rochon) and his Jewish in-laws, played hilariously by Elliot Gould and Lainie Kazan, over for Thanksgiving dinner. Wahlberg must fight off assassins, stomach ulcers and snippy family members in this decently entertaining but very lowbrow action comedy from producer John Woo.

The action is pretty cool, if a little cheesy at times and the villains are preposterous. The true gems of this film come in Wahlberg’s interactions with his in-laws which are very Woody-Allen-cum-Michael Bay-ish.

Come for the action, stay for the familial neurosis.

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