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Consider yourself warned. I was having such a good time watching THE BIG HIT ($30) that I really didn't care that this mindless action comedy made my IQ level drop a few points. So, before you start watching this decidedly dumb, but downright entertaining action flick, you better butter up your popcorn, then switch your thinking cap to the off position. THE BIG HIT comes from executive produce John Woo and was directed by Che-Kirk Wong, so you know for sure that the action sequences are going to be in the style of the best Hong Kong action movies. In fact, the action has been staged with such tremendous flair; devotees of Hong Kong cinema will want to add this DVD to their collections.

Mark Wahlberg stars as Melvin Smiley, a hit man with severe personal problems. Melvin has an inferiority complex, his co-workers are screwing him, plus both his girlfriend and fiancée are fleecing him of all his hard-earned cash. So, is it any wonder why this put upon hit man is sucking down antacid by the gallon? Melvin's never ending need for cash gets him involved with an ill-conceived kidnapping job. Fellow hit man, Cisco (Lou Diamond Phillips) comes up with the plan to kidnap the daughter of a Japanese businessman. Unfortunately for Melvin, the girl in question turns out to be the goddaughter of the very same man for whom both Melvin and Cisco work.

This latest twist of fate turns disastrous for Melvin, especially after Cisco makes it appear as though Melvin is the culprit responsible for the kidnapping plot. THE BIG HIT features a fun cast that brings to life every hilarious, politically incorrect moment. Christina Applegate is surprisingly delightful as Melvin’s Jewish fiancée Pam, while Lainie Kazan and Elliott Gould are perfection as her stereotypical parents. Newcomer China Chow blends just the right combination of sex appeal and wry humor into the role of kidnap victim Keiko Nishi. Avery Brooks is effectively menacing as Paris- her godfather. Bokeem Woodbine, Antonio Sabàto Jr. and Lela Rochon lend support.

Columbia TriStar offers THE BIG HIT in both wide screen and full screen presentations. The wide screen version features the anamorphic enhancement and looks so good that I doubt anyone will want to be bothered with the other side of the DVD. THE BIG HIT is framed at 1.85:1 with well balanced compositions. Just about every DVD that comes out of Columbia TriStar's production facilities is demonstration quality; THE BIG HIT is no exception. Viewers will be floored by the clarity and detail contained in the image. Even the colors are spectacular; vivid and richly saturated, without a trace of chroma noise. Compression artifacts were completely disguised by solid DVD authoring.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack is nothing short of explosive. Tight, responsive bass and well-placed directional effects make the most of the discrete capabilities of the Dolby Digital format. Dialogue reproduction was also clean and fully intelligible, even during the loudest passages in the film. The DVD also includes a matrixed Dolby Surround soundtrack, plus a French language track. Subtitles are available in English and French.

Columbia TriStar is jumping on the interactive menu bandwagon in big way- with the menus for THE BIG HIT containing both full animation and sound. Through the menus one can access two running audio commentaries, one featuring director Che-Kirk Wong and producer Terence Chang and the other featuring screenwriter Ben Ramsey. Both commentaries are worth a worth a listen for those so inclined. Other supplements include a theatrical trailer and deleted scenes.


The Big Hit (1998)


DVD reviews are Copyright © 1998 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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