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SONY

MOVIE INFO
Director:
Kirk Wong
Cast:
Mark Wahlberg, Lou Diamond Phillips, Christina Applegate
Screenplay:
Ben Ramsey

Synopsis:
Socially anxious hitman Melvin Smiley goes on a job and falls in love with his kidnapping victim, turning his world upside down.
Box Office:
Budget:
$13 million.
Opening weekend:
$10,809,424 on 2149 screens.
Domestic gross:
$27,007,143.
MPAA:
Rated R.

DISC DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio:
English PCM 5.1
English Dolby 5.1
French Dolby 5.1
Subtitles:
English
French
Spanish
Portuguese
Chinese
Korean
Thai
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 91 min.
Price: $14.98
Release Date: 9/19/2006

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary With Director Che-Kirk Wong and Producer Warren Zide
• Audio Commentary With Screenwriter Ben Ramsey
• Previews


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RELATED REVIEWS


The Big Hit [Blu-Ray] (1998)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (July 26, 2021)

With 1998ís The Big Hit, we get a broad action movie, one that veers into parody. Here we meet Melvin Smiley (Mark Wahlberg), an exceedingly talented assassin.

Though amazing at his job, Melvin suffers from one major flaw: he needs for everyone to like him and he hates emotional confrontations. This leads him to get manipulated by a variety of romantic partners as well as his co-workers.

When a job goes wrong, Melvin finds himself the target of his fellow hitmen. This forces him to fend for his life while he deals with a mix of interpersonal problems.

If you check out my review of the original DVD edition of 1998ís The Big Hit, youíll find my opinion of the movie circa 1999. Thatís when I first saw it and wrote that article.

I later updated the review as I reconsidered the DVD-specific components, but I decided to leave my comments about the film itself alone. They reflected my initial feelings, so I felt they remained valid from that point of view.

However, now that Iíve seen The Big Hit a couple more times, I must admit my opinion has changed somewhat. Back in 1999, I thought the movie seemed sporadically entertaining but it lacked consistency and was excessively goofy.

Most of my criticisms remain accurate, to a degree at least. Big Hit offers a very cartoony affair that features some broad, over the top action and characters.

On first viewing, these simply seemed like they were too much. However, the second time around, I was better able to appreciate the tone. Perhaps I didnít know what to expect from the movie initially, whereas during the second showing, I was aware of what Iíd get.

As such, I could more clearly appreciate what the filmmakers tried to do. A lot of the humor was hit or miss, but enough of it reached the mark to be entertaining. There were lots of small, quirky moments that stood out from the crowd.

I mean, itís hard to hate a movie that goes to absurd lengths in some matters, such as when we hear of a product called a Tracebuster, and this gets extended to a Tracebuster-buster and a Tracebuster-buster-buster. No, it doesnít sound like much on the printed page, but it provides an example of the loony tone found in The Big Hit.

I also appreciated the acting better during the second screening. Mark Wahlberg still seemed somewhat flat and wooden, but others appeared more entertaining.

My biggest opinion change resulted from the work of Lou Diamond Phillips as prime baddie Cisco. Phillips provided the broadest character of the cast, and he could come across as excessively cartoonish at times.

Nonetheless, he added a lot of funny little moments to the role, and despite the goofiness, as certain depth existed within the portrayal. Phillips made some questionable bits funnier than they should have been.

The action sequences worked both as straight adrenaline pieces and on a comic level, something not too easy to do. Director Che-Kirk Wong ably straddled various genres in such a way that the movie rarely came across as confused or muddled. Some criticized the flick for having its finger in too many pies, but that was actually one of its strengths.

Itís a mistake to view The Big Hit as anything other than a parody of action flicks. It gleefully subverts many of the genreís conventions.

Not all of these bits succeed, but enough of them fly to make it a fairly winning experience. It will never be a classic, but it has enough strengths to offer a fun and entertaining flick that seems to grow with additional viewings.


The Disc Grades: Picture C/ Audio A-/ Bonus B

The Big Hit appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. A release for the formatís early months, this became a watchable but spotty affair.

For the most part, sharpness seemed adequate, but it came with moderate edge haloes. These tended to give the image an overcooked impression. Still, sharpness felt generally good, if erratic.

No issues with jagged edges or moirť effects materialized. Print flaws showed occasional specks and marks, though not many source defects appeared.

Colors went with a stylized impression that favored ambers, blues and greens. These tended to feel a bit heavy and overdone, though some of that stemmed from design choices.

Blacks were fairly deep, while shadows showed reasonable clarity. Some high-contrast shots seemed pretty ugly, unfortunately. I didnít think this became a bad image given its vintage, but it could use an upgrade.

I felt more impressed with the solid PCM 5.1 soundtrack of The Big Hit, as it featured a very active soundfield. Actually, at times the mix seemed a little too active, such as during one scene in which Melvin worked out on a punching bag, where the exaggerated use of the surrounds became a little distracting.

However, this attitude ultimately worked for the cartoony nature of the flick. The front channels displayed good stereo presence for the music and also offered well-delineated effects that blended together nicely and moved cleanly from channel to channel.

The surrounds contributed a lot of unique audio, especially during the movieís many action sequences. The track blasted a great deal of vivid audio from the rear, and the elements meshed together well to create an encompassing and involving setting.

Audio quality appeared strong. Dialogue came across as natural and distinct, with no problems related to intelligibility.

Music was bright and vivid and offered positive range with clear highs and rich lows. Effects blasted cleanly and displayed a powerful impact.

The track featured fine bass response, which seemed tight and deep at all times. Overall, The Big Hit provided a terrific soundtrack.

How did the Blu-ray compare to the 1999 DVD version? The lossless audio came across as cleaner and warmer than its lossy DVD counterpart.

As for visuals, the Blu-ray looked better defined and more vivid. Even though the DVD was good for its format and the BD was mediocre for its, the latter still became the stronger rendition of the film Ė albeit one that could use a remaster.

The Blu-ray brings some of the DVDís extras, and we find two separate audio commentaries. The first involves director Che-Kirk Wong and producer Warren Zide, both of whom sit together for this running, screen-specific track.

Zide plays a small role in the proceedings. For the most part, he largely acts as interviewer, and I actually believe he simply leaves after a little while, as we hear nothing from him for very long stretches.

However, that seems fine with me, for Wong proves to be a terrific subject. He offers a rich and entertaining commentary that covers a great deal of territory.

Wong discusses subjects like casting for the movie - including others considered for the parts - as well as changes to the script, the effects of test audiences, fight choreography, and many amusing anecdotes from the set. The story about Bokeem Woodbineís giant unit merits a listen on its own.

I also love the manner in which he describes the differences between Hollywood filmmaking and Hong Kong shoots. A few empty spaces occasionally mar the track, but as a whole, I really like Wongís discussion, as he provides a wealth of compelling information.

In addition, we discover a commentary from screenwriter Ben Ramsey, who also provides a running, screen-specific piece. A chatty presence, Ramsey offers a reasonably engaging track.

At times he does little more than simply relate the on-screen action, but he usually gives us some good notes about the film. He covers the origins of his work, what he wanted to do with the flick, how the movie differed from the original script, and a lot of other areas related to the film. Overall, this commentary isnít quite as informative and entertaining as the first one, but it still delivers a useful and enjoyable discussion.

The disc also provides previews for Underworld: Evolution, Ultraviolet and xXx. No trailer for Hit appears here.

That differs from the DVD, which included the movieís trailer. It also featured three short deleted scenes that fail to reappear here.

As a parody of action flicks, The Big Hit doesnít quite fire on all cylinders. Nonetheless, it boasts enough over the top wildness to become a mostly entertaining ride. The Blu-ray comes with mediocre visuals, excellent audio and two informative commentaries. I like the movie but the Blu-ray could use an update.

To rate this movie, go to the Superbit DVD release of THE BIG HIT