i didn't hate the big hit , even though it is a stupefyingly terrible film .
for the entirety of its running time , my eyes were attached to the screen , and i never once got bored .
i found the film interesting because of its unique awfulness : this is such a confused disaster of a film that it's entertaining to watch it in the same way that it's entertaining to witness a thirty car pileup on a freeway spaghetti bowl .
as a narrative , the big hit is pure garbage , never truly deciding its genre and constantly crossing all kinds of boundaries .
it reminded me a lot of grosse pointe blank , which is a similar film that fails in a lot of the same ways .
it's fine to mix genres , if the film makers know what they're doing .
unfortunately , writer ben ramsey and director kirk wong don't seem to know how to handle the material , and the result is an action film that wants to be a comedy .
the biggest problem with the amalgamation , in this case , is that the film is absurd and the comedy is out of place .
but it sure is a fascinating failure .
er , mark wahlberg stars as melvin surley , a hitman .
he's a good hitman , apparently , although his tactics seem a bit rambunctious ( he doesn't snipe or make clean kills--he just kicks the door down and shoots everything ) .
he works with a few other hitmen--cisco ( lou diamond phillips ) , crunch ( bokeem woodbine ) , and vinnie ( antonio sabbato , jr . ) .
they're a nice bunch of muscular guys , who stand around in the locker room after working out and compare masturbation to sex .
they all work for a man named paris ( avery brooks ) , who is rich , powerful , and in constant need of four sloppy hitmen .
it is very important that they never go beyond their boss and do work on their own ; this , of course , is where the plot comes in .
they decide to kidnap a young japanese girl named keiko ( china chow ) , who has a rich father .
when they do this , it turns out she is paris' .
it's very bad to have paris against you .
the story is standard action film stuff .
it's nothing new , and nothing particularly offensive ( but certainly not the slightest bit compelling ) .
clearly the major selling point of the big hit is that it's a john woo-type of action film mixed in with some really hip comedy .
it's true that a lot of the action sequences resemble recent films that go for the same idea ( such as face/off and the replacement killers , which are both far superior ) .
there are stunts that are fun to watch : the opening sequence has melvin and two of his partners going in to kill some guy who has nothing to do with the story .
they use night vision goggles and really powerful handguns .
melvin is also very good at breakdancing , and uses this talent to avoid bullets and knives .
like i said , it's not boring ; most disasters aren't .
what makes it so bad is its genre-shifting madness .
it seems to start out as a quirky-but-realistic action comedy , as melvin is seen transporting bags of human remains .
then , as soon as they go to their first hit , it turns into a music video with bodies and bullets flying everywhere .
then , somewhere in between , it turns back into comedy .
keiko turns out to be a spunky little girl ; in one amusing scene , she is forced to read a letter out loud , indicating that she has been kidnapped , but the letter is littered with grammatical errors that skew the meaning of the words .
and scenes like this work alone , but wong applies this goofy tone to scenes that should be more serious , or not be in the film at all .
one of the most irritating moments has paris ordering cisco to come up to his office after he learns that keiko has been kidnapped ; when cisco gets there , paris and his men are standing around as if they knew cisco did it , but they let him out of there , telling him to find the perpetrator .
the scene is played for laughs , but it isn't funny .
and since it doesn't quite work as a comedy , it tries to fall back on the action , which also fails .
this is a film where people fly fifteen feet backwards when shot with a handgun .
cars land on tree branches and are supported by them .
characters betray each other without a second thought .
grenades are thrown in tight places .
people jump out of tall buildings and survive .
people outrun tumbling cars , and get out of the way of falling objects in small fractions of seconds .
most frustrating of all , though , is the film's definition of a hit man : these guys are anything but subtle , quiet , and skilled individuals .
they're more like socially depraved militia men ( melvin has an extensive collection of firearms in his garage , including missile launchers and hand-held machineguns ) .
the characters each have one trait that distinguishes them from the rest ; this obviously doesn't make for deep or interesting people to watch .
the acting is kind of fun , though--wahlberg is a good actor , and his innocuous presence in this film is charming in a silly sort of way .
phillips certainly has fun with his psychotic character , while christina applegate , who plays melvin's fianc ? e , is convincingly air-headed .
the big hit is an action film that unknowingly spoofs itself in trying to be funny .
the funniest parts are supplied by the actors , and not by the numerous failed attempts at sight gags and one-liners .
it's a true disaster , one that makes me believe that the goofy and unrealistic tone is completely unintentional .
despite all this , though , i must reiterate the entertainment value here .
you can cherish the awfulness of a film like this .
if you embrace the big hit for the catastrophe that it is , you just might enjoy yourself .