Hitman/Contract Killer: ””You are not suitable to be a killer”

Year: 1998
Directed by Stephen Tung Wai
Produced by Gordon Chan
Written by Chan Hing-kai,Vincent Kok and Cheng Kam-fu
Cast: Jet Li,Eric Tsang,Simon Yam, Gigi Leung, Timmy Ho, Kwong Kim Yip, Frankie Ng, John Ching Tung, Keiji Sato, Paul Rapovski, and Hideri Meiken

After the murder of a famous Japanese tycoon, there is a 100 million dollar reward for the one that can catch and kill the killer. Two unlikely men join forces to get the reward but the conspiracy behind the whole ordeal is even crazier than any of them can imagine.

“Revenge fund” is one of the most ridiculous things mentioned in 1998’s Hitman. Yet, the whole absurdity of a ”revenge fund” is treated with a nonchalant sincerity. The whole doings and dealings of the entire hitman profession is given the same treatment as well. So, Hitman, intentional or not, has the vague hints of a black comedy. Nevertheless, it isn’t really either. Hitman’s schizophrenic tone can’t decide on the type of film or narrative that it wants to be. Hitman is rather a chaotic mixup of a melodrama, action, mystery, crime thriller, and comedy. As a complete package, Hitman is a mess, but taken not too seriously, Hitman is a fun adventure.

Considering Jet Li is the lead, Hitman does deliver on its promise of great action. Jet Li in Hitman is surprisingly a more toned down hero. Jet Li’s Fu is much less of a superman compared to Wong Fei-hung. Fu is pretty much a stock archetype of Jet Li, the gentle and morally upright badass. Eric Tsang plays the usual witty fast-talker. Fu and Ngok Lo’s odd mix of friendship and partnership does make for some enjoyable moments. Ngok Lo’s daughter subplot was completely unnecessary and added little to the main plot. Although it is always nice to see Gigi Leung, but, at least, Hitman didn’t force a romance on us.

Fu and Ngok Lo unraveling the dark conspiracy of ”Killer Angel” has many genuine twists and turns. However, many of the twists and turn do lack any semblance of good logic. The motivations of the villains suffer a similar fate since isn’t properly explained . Regardless of the many messy entanglements, Hitman is a high-energy action comedy that provides more than enough fun and excitement. Hitman lacks a strong throughline to support its many contradictory elements. Nonetheless, Hitman achieves its purpose through its kinetic sense of fun and great action.

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