Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Big Hit

After suffering through the disappointment that was Requiem For The Phantom I wanted to sit back and watch something fun.  Something that had likable characters, an interesting plot with some fun twists, and great character interaction.  I wanted interesting set pieces, goofy action, and sexy femme fatales who could hold their own with the boys.  I wanted loud guns, fast cars, and dangerous stunts.

So with all that in mind, I went to a movie that I had fond memories of watching once on TV, and if I can have fond memories of watching a movie after it's been on TBS,

So I sat down and watched The Big Hit.

I don't know what the heck I was thinking, picking this movie.

The Big Hit (aka "the big hit") is a Hong Kong action comedy in everything but location, humor, and the race of most of the cast.  Directed by Kirk Wong (director of the fantastic Crime Story), it's obvious they were going for ridiculous from the start, what they failed completely to pick up on was "fun."

I mean, picture this story set-up.  The lead character is part of a small group of misfits/small time criminals (yes, they're hit men, but they're still really low on the gang's totem pole) who decide that the solution to all of their problems is the kidnapping of the high school-age daughter of a wealthy man.  However, it turns out the father has ties to a huge gang, and the group suddenly finds themselves in the cross hairs of some extremely deadly people while one guy emotionally bonds with the daughter and the two of them start a heavily flirtatious relationship.

Where have I heard that before?

Except, somehow, this was better.
Our nice guy/badass is played by Mark Wahlberg, who completely shuts his own character down by acting like a complete wuss after the start of the film.  He has a fiancee played by Christina Applegate who's Jewish just so she can have Jewish parents, and the parents are Jewish just so they can bicker and insult each other.  He also has a girlfriend on the side who mooches money from him, using him for his funds instead of having any real emotional connection to him.  His best friends (played by Lou Diamond Phillips, Bokeem Woodbine, and Antonio Sabato, Jr) are fellow assassins who mooch off of Wahlberg's actual talent and scheme to steal bonuses from him whenever possible.  Wahlberg's character is paranoid to it almost being a neurosis about making sure people like him, which as Lou Diamond Phillips points out, "the hundred or so people you've killed in the last five years more than likely have families that don't think too highly of you."

The gang decides to kidnap the daughter of a big time movie director who, unbenownst to them, just bankrupted himself making a huge disaster of a movie featuring himself.  Also unfortunately for the gang, the girl's godfather happens to be the crime boss that the gang works for, and he doesn't take "attacks against his home" very well.  The whole story dissolves into gun fights, betrayals, and the ever-blossoming romance between Wahlberg (who's approximately 27) and the daughter, played by China Chow (who's playing someone, I dunno, 16? 18?  Ew.)

Now, the movie isn't all bad.  The scenes between Wahlberg and Chow are cute, but vapid, with little to no real thought happening in the heads of the characters.  Plus, it's kind of hard to enjoy their growing romance and slow seduction of each other when you remember she's not dressed like a schoolgirl for fetish purposes, but because it's her actual school uniform.  Lou Diamond Phillips chews up every scene he's in, and even when the scene doesn't have much of anything going on, he looks like he's enjoying himself.

The action sequences are ridiculous, with bullets always missing everybody unless the script demands they hit someone just to get them out of the movie.  Side characters are either completely forgettable (I honestly don't know where Sabato goes after the first part of the movie, but he appears at the end again) or ridiculous because having a real personality takes time to develop.  In one scene a car lands in a tree.  I don't even remember how the characters got out of the car and onto the ground safely, my brain was trying so determinedly to lower its standards to the point where I could find "jokes" funny or the action "intense."  I never really hit that point.

This is a bad, terrible, awful movie with a cast that can do so much more.  There characters are so thin their descriptions in the script are probably only eight words long ("nice guy badass wants everyone to like him," "school girl, is drawn to bad guys, total lolita," "movie store clerk who threatens to kill customer," etc.).  The settings are confusing (I'm not sure how a car that drove down a hill can suddenly attack from the top of the hill) when they aren't completely mundane, such as the huge climactic fight that takes place in a video store.

Every now and again I'd catch a flicker of something in the movie, a spark of a good idea buried somewhere.  However, I think those sparks were done better in so many other movies, it not only makes this one bad, but completely irrelevant and pointless.

Twenty minutes in, I was saying to myself "oh my god, I hate everybody who's appeared on screen so far."  Aside from China Chow's ability to make me hate Mark Wahlberg's character slightly less, that opinion never changed through the rest of the movie.

I really hope my next post is about something good.

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