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The Big Hit Review

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Melvyn (Wahlberg) is an assasin, but other than that he just wants to be loved. He's walked over by everyone he meets, and the nasty characters that feature in his life converge on one faithful day when he's unknowingly kidnapped his boss' goddaughter. Lots of action and violence ensue.

★★★★★

Like John Woo's English language debut Hard Target, this first Hollywood outing for his disciple Wong (exec produced by Woo) plays like a poor translation, mixing action, farce and childish smut into a half-baked crime comedy.

Melvyn (Wahlberg) is a swell guy except that he kills people for a living, being a busy hit man in the employ of a debonair gangster (Avery Brooks, Star Trek DS9's Captain Sisko). Melvyn is part of a team including the psychotic, greedy, very annoying Cisco (Phillips), Crunch (Bokeem Woodbine, insultingly underused) and Vince (TV hunk Antonio Sabêto Jr., who vanishes without explanation for most of the film and suddenly reappears just as inexplicably). Melvyn is so desperate to be liked, he lets everyone - except his 100 or so victims - walk over him. His tormentors include two-timing mistress Chantel (Lela Rochon) who's a screeching gold-digger, and his crass, spendthrift fiancee Pam Shulman (Applegate), who's given all Melvyn's savings to her ghastly parents (Lainie Kazan and Elliott Gould).

Entirely foreseeable complications ensue when all the aforementioned converge chez Melvyn just when he's stashed a nubile teen kidnap victim (China Chow, in a lap dancer's version of a schoolgirl uniform) on the premises. Ethnic jokes, abortive seductions, cookery fiascos and guns feature heavily. And unbeknown to Melvyn, the abductee is his ruthless boss' goddaughter, the key to backstabbing Cisco's scheme for rubbing Melvyn out.

Conceivably someone, somewhere may find this idiotic bad taste binge amusing yet most will find the sooner any - or preferably all - of these characters get dispatched the better. Eliminate the loud but lame comedy and what's left is 15 minutes of stylish action pieces, terrific stunt effects, slow motion devastation and the ever popular escape by centimetres from a blast fireball. Which do not a movie make.

Conceivably someone, somewhere may find this idiotic bad taste binge amusing yet most will find the sooner any - or preferably all - of these characters get dispatched the better.