The Big Hit (1998) – Awfully Good

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The Massive Hit (1998) – Awfully Good

In case THE HITMAN’S WIFE’S BODYGUARD doesn’t scratch your itch for an murderer action-comedy, might we propose you mild up and take…

Director: Kirk Wong
Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Lou Diamond Phillips, Christina Applegate

THE BIG HIT poster

After by chance kidnapping his crime lord boss’ goddaughter, a surprisingly delicate hitman feels neither good vibrations nor any candy sensations.

Like many center school-aged boys, I went via the “obsessive about John Woo” part that inevitably follows the onset of male puberty. The summer season FACE/OFF got here out, I consumed the whole lot remotely associated to Hong Kong motion cinema I may discover. John Woo, Tsui Hark, Johnny To, Ringo Lam—I burned via all of them like a searing bullet via a gradual movement flock of doves. Then, in 1998, a brand new American movie produced by Woo (and Wesley Snipes!) was launched. It delivered the whole lot I wished and rapidly grew to become a film after my very own coronary heart, one which I might’ve written myself.

Which is precisely what makes THE BIG HIT an ideal match for this column.

THE BIG HIT christina applegate
Christina was irritated that even when she was standing proper there in entrance of them, Mark nonetheless requested her to say hello to her mom for him.

The reckless mixture of tongue-in-cheek humor, high-octane gun-fu motion, and meta jokes about Hollywood—all wrapped up in a delirious bundle of glorified violence—endlessly appealed to me. And watching THE BIG HIT now, it actually is sort of a fan script a 14 12 months outdated child would write after watching HARD BOILED and PULP FICTION. It’s why I cherished this film then and why I nonetheless find it irresistible, even when elements of it haven’t aged tremendous nicely as a relic of the Nineteen Nineties.

The movie follows a gaggle of contract killers working for a vicious, big-time mob boss. As a part of a aspect hustle, they resolve to kidnap the daughter of a Japanese billionaire, who unbeknownst to them just lately went bankrupt from bankrolling, directing and starring in the most costly film ever produced. (The title, TASTE THE GOLDEN SPRAY, nonetheless cracks me up.) Once they uncover all too late that their new hostage is definitely their boss’ goddaughter, the “good man” of the group is about as much as take the autumn as everybody he is aware of activates him.

THE BIG HIT seppuku
I imply, this film did not win any Oscars, however that also appears slightly overdramatic…

It’s a enjoyable premise and THE BIG HIT makes use of it to strike an attention-grabbing tone. In case the opening scene, during which a person has an off-the-cuff dialog along with his girlfriend whereas dismembering a physique in his bathtub, doesn’t make it clear sufficient, that is positively a darkish comedy that always bounces backwards and forwards between silliness and violence. Nevertheless, there’s additionally a streak of candy, childlike innocence to it due to the naïve, generally irritating, hero who’s annoyingly good.

The script by Ben Ramsey (DRAGONBALL EVOLUTION) is extremely crass and endlessly quotable, in addition to cliché—however in ways in which handle to nonetheless be enjoyable 20+ years later. There are apparent tropes of the style from this time interval: a hitman able to retire and sail world wide, tacky Tarantino-esque dialogue that in all probability sounded cooler on paper, and the usual motion beats you count on from one thing with John Woo’s identify hooked up, together with a Mexican standoff and a gunfight that makes use of a stairwell banister.

After which Ramsey provides in random, inexplicable components that may have you ever questioning the whole lot you have been anticipating out of this film:

THE BIG HIT minivan
Petition so as to add “Minivan of Doom” to the pantheon of nice cinematic automobiles alongside the Batmobile and the automotive from THE WRAITH.

  • A principal character—a murderous murderer named Melvin Smiley— whose defining high quality is his paralyzing worry that individuals gained’t like him. Consequently, everybody walks throughout him, from his coworkers to his a number of girlfriends. The film by no means explains why or what sort of trauma led to this and as a substitute performs it for laughs. (“LOL Marky Mark has to chug Maalox to take care of the ulcer he’s getting from his crippling untreated anxiousness.”)
  • A locker room scene, the place the digicam longingly gazes at every man’s chiseled bare physique whereas they take turns complimenting one another’s physique, that feels just like the setup for homosexual porn. It is a degree of male homoeroticism not seen since SHOWDOWN IN LITTLE TOKYO.
  • Not unrelated, a subplot involving a man named Crunch who’s obsessive about masturbation as a result of he’s by no means performed it earlier than. (His disturbing clarification? “I by no means wanted to. I’ve been fucking since I used to be 10.”) He’s always seen exercising his proper hand, agonizing over his selection of lotion, and attempting to persuade everybody else to surrender girls for self-gratification.
  • A recurring gag involving the return of an overdue VHS tape to the video retailer (in all probability essentially the most 90s factor about this film) and the crazed film nerd who always threatens to kill Melvin over a late copy of KING KONG LIVES. The ultimate motion set piece takes place within the video retailer as a result of the primary character decides that additional late charges are worse than operating away from the crew of assassins despatched to homicide him.
  • Inane motion scenes that will take a look at the idea of “suspension of disbelief,” like a automotive chase via a closely wooded forest, gun fights that contain bungee cords and using nightvision through the day, and a life-saving piece of film advertising.
  • A really problematic “love story” between Melvin, who already has a fiancée and a mistress, and the younger woman he’s holding hostage in his home. (She was clearly meant to be in highschool, however they ADRed somebody saying she’s in faculty after they realized that was a horrible thought.) Along with the apparent Stockholm Syndrome, there’s no scarcity of uncomfortably disturbing scenes between China Chow and Mark Wahlberg, together with a supposedly horny second the place he has to take off her underwear as a result of she’s tied up and desires to make use of the lavatory (you realize, as a result of he kidnapped her), a number of scenes the place she psychoanalyzes him like a therapist, and a severely gross sequence the place they messily stuff a uncooked hen collectively that will convert you to plant-based poultry.
  • What can solely be described as “telecommunications porn” that includes more and more superior call-tracing know-how.

THE BIG HIT tracebuster
This belongs within the Smithsonian.

Many of the solid appears recreation to take these massive swings. THE BIG HIT got here proper in the beginning of Mark Wahlberg’s transition from rapper to precise actor. and whereas his efficiency continues to be fairly tough across the edges, he no less than makes an attempt taking part in Melvin as an actual character barely totally different than himself. The movie additionally boasts Christina Applegate, China Chow, Elliott Gould, Star Trek’s Avery Brooks and future Congressional candidate Antonio Sabato Jr. Nevertheless, the actual MVP of THE BIG HIT is former YOUNG GUN Lou Diamond Phillips. LDP is the one performer who actually appears to know the film he’s in and performs the excessive villain with panache, real humor and loads of moments of wonderful overacting. By the top of the movie he turns into a cartoon character come to life—that features the shortcoming to die, even when a automotive is dropped off a cliff on to his face.

THE BIG HIT is indisputably a product of its time—equal elements ludicrous and lovable—however I feel holds up fairly nicely (in the event you contemplate the context and preserve an open thoughts). Relying in your childhood, your interior youngster should get a kick out of it.

THE BIG HIT lou diamond phillips
Lou Diamond Phillips would at all times reenact scenes from YOUNG GUNS II on set although a) he didn’t have an actual gun, and b) no person requested him to.

China Chow in a schoolgirl uniform and loads of tight male asses within the locker room. One thing for everyone!

THE BIG HIT scoreBuy the Movie Watch the Movie

Take a shot or drink each time:

  • Mark Wahlberg thinks he’s Chow Yun Fats
  • Mark Wahlberg will get blue balls
  • Mark Wahlberg drinks Maalox
  • Bokeem Woodbine does or says one thing associated to jerking off
  • Gump forgets a phrase
  • Lou Diamond Phillips doesn’t die

Double shot if:

  • Anyone says “Tracebuster” (Simply kidding… until you need to die from alcohol poisoining.)

Because of Randall and Scot for suggesting this week’s film!

Seen a film that ought to be featured on this column? Shoot Jason an email and provides him an excuse to drink.

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