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The Big Hit
Superbit

review by Zach B.

 

 

Rating: R (For Violence, pervasive language and some sexuality)

Running Time: 91 minutes

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Lou Diamond Phillips, Christina Applegate, Avery Brooks, Bokeen Woodbine, Antonio Sabato, Jr., Laine Kazan, Elliot Gould, Sab Shimono and Lela Rochon

Written by: Ben Ramsey

Directed by: Che-Kirk Wong

 

Studio: Columbia/Tri-Star

Retail Price: $27.96

Features: None

Specs: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, English DTS 5.1, English Subtitles, French Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, Portuguese Subtitles, Chinese Subtitles, Korean Subtitles, Thai Subtitles, English Closed Captions, Scene Selection (28 Scenes)

Released: March 19th, 2002

 

 

Melvin Smiley (Mark Wahlberg) is a hit man, who, despite having a fiancé, is two-timing her with a local friend all while living a seemingly decent, if unorthodox, life. But he and his three friends (Lou Diamond Phillips, Antonio Sabato, Jr. and Bokeem Woodbine), also hit men, decide one day to kidnap a powerful businessman's daughter. That's when the problems and comedy rise. It turns out the daughter, Kieko, is their own boss' goddaughter, loves Melvin, a chase begins and whatnot.

"The Big Hit" is purely a guy's movie. Female demographics aren't going to enjoy this as much as them probably. This movie has everything that your stereotypical, action loving male wants: a good deal of violence, gore, hot chicks, sexuality and a fun, rather mindless plot with some comedy and screwball situations. This is pretty typical fun. A lot of people love movies like "The Big Hit."

I'm not really into mindless flicks if you've read reviews from me on this site. Yes, I do admit I enjoy them, but I lean towards those emotional dramas and whatnot. Films like "The Big Hit" aren't my favorite type of films, they're more guilty pleasures. And this is as good as a guilty pleasure as you're going to get if you're into this sorta thing. This movie is just plain fun fo what it is. It has an interesting plot, well executed action scenes, actually some rather intriguing character development and actually, for an action comedy, a good deal of laughs. I particuarly liked the Judaic references... but there's some one-liners and broad jokes that can be enjoyed here. There's really not much more to say. It's violent, it's sexual and while it has some originality, it's more or less pretty typical.

Ben Ramsey's script is pretty decent, actually. I felt toward the end it gets a little ridiculous, but he writes an action comedy with a variety of characters, good natured laughs and has some substance and wit to his story. Che-Kirk Wong's directing is pretty impeccable. The movie is only about an hour and a half, as it probably should be. He doesn't stretch things out, and makes everything as long as it should be. Che-Kirk Wong also has a good sense of executing the action... the editing here is very fast paced and never makes the action confusing, while Wong shows he knows what he's doing as far as setting things up (though I think he uses way too much slow motion). Overall, the violent scenes are really well done, even if they are a bit standard.

The actors here are pretty perfect for their roles, and share good chemistry together, actually. Mark Wahlberg perfectly fits the bill as Melvin, while his cohorts in Bokeen Woodbine, Antonio Sabair, Jr. and Lou Diamond Phillips all have solid deliveries and seem to be having a good time in their roles. Lela Rochon is pretty decent in her smaller performances, but I think in addition to Wahlberg, Elliot Gould, Sab Shimono and Christina Applegate steal the show with their frenized acting.

If you're a guy, have some friends over and just want a fun movie that will satisfy your urge for entertainment, you can't go wrong with "The Big Hit." Again, it's a guilty pleasure movie... it's not meant to be serious or anything, and it's really well done and fun for what it happens to be. And besides, if you get this Superbit edition, you'll be able to show off how great your home theater is...

 

This is Superbit... if you're not familiar with Columbia/Tri-Star's groundbreaking line of DVDs, they pretty much have been taking their thundrous action films and slamming them on to single disc DVDs with no supplements whatsoever (but that's about to change with Columbia/Tri-Star's Superbit Deluxe series, due in summer 2002 and spread on two discs). Due to more space on the DVD, video bit rate and quality in general improves. If you don't have a high-definition widescreen television and/or good equipment, it may be a little hard to tell. But for those who have the stuff, you'll be able to spot the differences a lot easier.

First off, this 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer is incredibly sharp. This is truly one of the sharpest pictures I've ever seen for a live action film on DVD. Colors are rock solid in the transfer too. They are perfectly saturated. The movie itself is quite color with the variety of locations, clothing and whatnot, and there's a lot to show off here, and looks mighty fine. The depth and complete look of the image is really stunning. There's a lot of great eye candy that does not disappoint. Still, there are some minor flaws... a mark or two toward the start on the print, as well as some shimmering and noise throughout, but none of that ever gets distracting. Quite truly, an impressive transfer that is bound to please.

 

Damn, these 5.1 mixes are INCREDIBLE and really amazing. Since Superbit has the extra space and can take advantage of that, DTS and Dolby Digital tracks bless each Superbit disc. This is pure home theater bliss my friends, and these mixes are what action movie perfection and surround heaven are all about. I found the English DTS 5.1 and English Dolby Digital 5.1 to be really even and neck and neck, but in the end, DTS wins this round. I found the DTS to be a tiny bit more full and overall richer experience. But that doesn't mean the Dolby Digital track isn't great. Both really have so much to them and capture the film.

First off, dialogue is really crisp and feels fresh, like it was just recorded, so there's no hiss or interference here. Next, the variety of rap and hip-hop music brings a great atmosphere to this track. All the background music and songs are really well mixed together and have some booming .1 LFE in them. And of course, when it all comes down to it, there are the sound effects. Sound effects, arguably, pretty much drive the violent action scenes, and you better believe this movie has a lot of those. I really felt I was part of the action and watching all the events in the movie in front of me as if it were real life. You have guns firing off, guns being reloaded, clicks, glass breaking, explosions and just a high level of intensity in all the surrounds. Subwoofer use is great with the sound effects as well. There's a ton of surround use here, and dynamic range as well as fidelity are incredibly high. Overall, if you have a 5.1 system, you're going to love both tracks.

Also included are English Subtitles, French Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, Portuguese Subtitles, Chinese Subtitles, Korean Subtitles, Thai Subtitles and English Closed Captions.

 

Superbit? You've got to be kidding if you're expecting to find anything this area. You've got nothing! But you got simple menus that take little space and 28 chapter stops.

 

"The Big Hit" is a fun and decent action comedy romp a lot of you should enjoy. If you have a home theater and like the movie, do pick yourself up this AMAZING Superbit edition. The 5.1 mixes on it are some of the best I've ever heard (and surely rank in the top ten best mixes I've had the pleasure of listening to on DVD), while the picture quality is really rock solid. Have a good time!