Hitman | Chicago Reader

Hitman

Mixing goofy humor with high-octane action is a hallmark of Hong Kong cinema, and director Tung Wai exploits it to the hilt in this 1998 Jet Li vehicle. Li plays a sweet country bumpkin and former soldier of the mainland army; a bumbling promoter (the likable Eric Tsang) befriends him, eager to cash in on his martial-arts prowess, and together they're hunted by vengeful assassins implicated in the gruesome killing of a Japanese tycoon. The plot is serpentine, the pacing jumpy, and the acting one-dimensional except for the leads, yet the film has some choice moments poking fun at the characters' greed and amorality, Hong Kong's cosmopolitan facade, and the spectacle of Li being transformed into a fashion plate. As usual, Li saves the day—and the film—with a breathtaking, intricately choreographed, and extraordinarily bloody finale.

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