The Big Hit
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The Big Hit is a 1998 American action comedy film directed by Hong Kong filmmaker Che-Kirk Wong, and stars Mark Wahlberg, Lou Diamond Phillips, Christina Applegate, Bokeem Woodbine, Antonio Sabàto Jr., China Chow, Avery Brooks, Lainie Kazan, Elliott Gould, Sab Shimono and Lela Rochon.

The film was shot in Hamilton and Pickering, Ontario, Canada.


Melvin Smiley has a good life thanks to his talents as a contract-killer, but has a very working class mentality going about his life, in combination with his constant struggles to maintain two romantic relationships. One is with the demanding and demeaning Chantel, who does not accept his work, and the other with Pam, who knows nothing of his job. Melvin is somewhat of a pushover, trying to appease all of Chantel s demands, even her most expensive wishes, as well as rolling over whenever one of his co-workers takes credit for his achievements. Perhaps as a result of his helplessness in asserting himself, throughout the early scenes, Melvin is often seen drinking Maalox to relieve a developing stress-induced ulcer.

Feeling underpaid for their work for mob boss Paris, the assassin team of Smiley, Cisco, Crunch, Vince and Gump take an independent job, kidnapping Keiko Nishi, the teenage daughter of local electronics magnate Jiro Nishi, for a hefty ransom. Unfortunately, the team does not realize that Nishi has recently gone bankrupt over his failed foray into films and furthermore, their boss Paris is the girl s godfather. Enlisted by the group to hold Keiko, Melvin has to hide the bound and gagged schoolgirl on his property, attempting to keep her presence hidden from Pam and her parents, who are coming for dinner.

Melvin feels sorry for Keiko and relieves her from her bondage. In the ensuing hours they build up a rapport preparing dinner together, an act which leads into a love scene reminiscent of the pottery scene from Ghost, but which is cut short when Keiko attempts to escape. Ordered by Paris to discover the kidnappers of his goddaughter, a panicked Cisco kills Gump, but not before coaxing him into also implicating Melvin for the kidnapping.

A team of assassins crash Melvin s dinner with Pam s family, leading to a shootout during which Melvin realizes Pam was going to break up with him over pressure from her mother, a hardcore Jew who is severely against her being with Melvin, a Gentile. Melvin and Keiko s growing feelings for each other lead them to forming an awkward romance, and she and Melvin attempt to escape from the fiasco, pursued by Cisco. In the chaos, Melvin happens to run into Chantel and finally takes the opportunity to stand up to her and end their relationship.

A fight ensues between Cisco and Melvin, culminating at a video store where the ever-honest Melvin stops to return an overdue tape of King Kong Lives. Melvin kills Cisco by stabbing him in the chest, but not before Cisco arms an explosive device. Melvin leaves the building and is confronted by Keiko, her father and Paris. He re-enters the building, which explodes.

Paris and Nishi, believing Melvin to be dead, call off the manhunt. Soon Melvin is revealed to have survived, sheltered from the blast by an enormous solid gold film stand-up made for the flop that destroyed Nishi s career. Melvin and Keiko are reunited and ride off together, while Nishi recoups his losses by making a film out of the story of his daughter s kidnapping.


  • Mark Wahlberg as Melvin Smiley
  • Lou Diamond Phillips as Cisco
  • Christina Applegate as Pam Shulman
  • Avery Brooks as Paris
  • Bokeem Woodbine as Crunch
  • Antonio Sabàto Jr. as Vince
  • China Chow as Keiko Nishi
  • Lainie Kazan as Jeanne Shulman
  • Elliott Gould as Morton Shulman
  • Sab Shimono as Jiro Nishi
  • Robin Dunne as Gump
  • Lela Rochon as Chantel
  • Danny Smith as Video Store Kid


The Big Hit was shot for the relatively low budget of $13 million and was produced by film partners John Woo, Terence Chang, and Wesley Snipes.


Box office

The film debuted at #1 at the box office. It went on to gross $27.0 million domestically.

Critical response

The Big Hit had a mixed reception from critics.

Jack Matthews commented in the Los Angeles Times that The Big Hit, which was brought to Wesley Snipes production company by Hong Kong legend John Woo, attempts to take the East-West merger even further, and the result is an only fitfully funny comic mongrel.

Remarked Roger Ebert, I guess you could laugh at this. You would have to be seriously alienated from normal human values and be nursing a deep-seated anger against movies that make you think even a little, but you could laugh.

The New York Times Lawrence Van Gelder was equally scathing: If The Big Hit had any valid claim to excellence, rest assured that its release would have been delayed till summer. That, experience shows, is the proper season for movies built on a foundation of lavish crime, carnage, comedy, chases, crashes and chicks. The Big Hit has all these elements, and none are top-of-the-line. The name of John Woo, the talented Hong Kong-school director of the hit Face/Off, is plastered around The Big Hit. But this bait should not deter the eye from the switch: Woo is an executive producer. The director of The Big Hit is Che-Kirk Wong, another Hong Kong veteran, making his North American debut. Insatiable moviegoers are advised to wait till this action-comedy, written by Ben Ramsey, thuds into video stores; tasteful moviegoers will avoid it altogether.

And finally, Jeff Vice of the LDS Church-owned Deseret News remarked: Every bit as frustating as it is entertaining, this black comedy/thriller takes its plotting and dialogue cues from Tarantino (meaning there is rampant use of profanity) and its startling visual style from Woo, who served as the film s executive producer. Unfortunately, it s a very uneasy blending of the two styles, and as a result there as many awful moments as good ones—at least until the extremely unsatisfying and drawn-out conclusion, which blows things completely.

In a retrospective review published in 2010, critic Leonard Maltin praised the film as a guilty pleasure, and said that most critics despised The Big Hit, and audiences didn t flock to see it, perhaps confused as to whether it was a comedy or an action movie … and never dreaming it was a hybrid of the two. He also states, it expands its ideas to such a ludicrous extreme that you can t take it seriously, and that s just what I like about it.

It currently holds a 43% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 40 reviews, with an average score of 5.14/10. The site consensus reads: The Big Hit seeks to blend the best of Hong Kong and American action cinema, but ends up offering a muddled mush that mostly misses . Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of C− on an A+ to F scale.

Year 1998
ReleaseDate 1998-04-24
RuntimeMins 91
RuntimeStr 1h 31min
Plot Socially anxious hitman Melvin Smiley, an expert in his lucrative field, goes on a job and falls in love with his kidnapping victim, turning his world upside down.
Directors Kirk Wong
Writers Ben Ramsey
Stars Mark Wahlberg, Lou Diamond Phillips, Christina Applegate
Produced by Troy Allen,Terence Chang,John M. Eckert,Roger Garcia,Victor McGauley,Craig Perry,Wesley Snipes,John Woo,Warren Zide
Music by Graeme Revell
Cinematography by Danny Nowak
Film Editing by Robin Russell,Pietro Scalia
Casting By Roger Mussenden
Production Design by Taavo Soodor
Art Direction by Craig Lathrop,Andrew M. Stearn
Set Decoration by Enrico Campana
Costume Design by Margaret Mohr
Makeup Department James D. Brown,Paula Fleet,Donald Mowat,Edelgard K. Pfluegl,Colin Penman
Production Management John M. Eckert,Pasia Schonberg
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director Patrick Arias,Jeff J.J. Authors,Chris Baillie,Harley Cohen,G. Michael Currie,Eric S. Potechin
Art Department John Bannister,Warren Bullock,Ronald Bunt,David Orin Charles,Sheila Church,Janet Cormack,Jim Craig,Malcolm Davis,David DeMarinis,Barry Isenor,Mari Laughlen,John Mackenzie,Linda McClelland,Melissa Morgan,Jeff Poulis,David Ritchie,Jonathan Savan,Robert S. Smith,Jacques-Alexander Veilleux,Peter Legault,John Todd
Sound Department Stephen Barden,Tom Bjelic,Terry Burke,Keith Elliott,Douglas Ganton,Sandy Gendler,David Giammarco,Mark Gingras,Wayne Griffin,Andy Koyama,Goro Koyama,Andy Malcolm,Anna Malkin,Ron Malligers,Mark L. Mangino,Michael O’Farrell,Ron Stermac,Brad Thornton,Reynald Trudel,Tony van den Akker,Don White,Gren-Erich Zwicker,Randolph Saucedo
Special Effects by Jason Board,Marcel Caissie,Daniel Gibson,Warren Keillor,Gary Kleinsteuber,Kaz Kobielski,Mark Lawton,Joseph P. Mercurio,Tiffany Ariana Morrow,Tony Vandenecker,Mark Rice,Troy Rundle
Visual Effects by Berj Bannayan,Jesse Bradstreet,Bret Culp,Colin Cunningham,John Fraser,Robbi Hinds,Nick Hsieh,Kelvin Kanagaraj,Warren J.W. Leathem,Kyle Menzies,Mindy Minkow,Stephen Price,Kelley Ray,Suresh Rohin,Michael Lennick,Paul McGhee,Ray McMillan
Stunts Lloyd Adams,Roy T. Anderson,Matt Birman,Bob Brown,Eric Bryson,Randy Butcher,Shane Cardwell,Michael Chan,Phil Chiu,Wayne Downer,Mary Fallick,Sandra Feldman,Mike Gow,Brian Jagersky,Erin Jarvis,Loi-Kwan Kam,Chi-Ho Lau,Steve Lucescu,Patrick Mark,Dwayne McLean,Duncan McLeod,Rudyard Moncayo,Regan Moore,Layton Morrison,Panou,Rick Parker,Edward A. Queffelec,Ken Quinn,Branko Racki,Robert Racki,Bryan Renfro,Kevin Rushton,Robert C. Shannon,Don Stockford,John Stoneham Jr.,Peter Szkoda,Bryan Thomas,Robert Thomas,Tye Tyukodi,Benny Urquidez,Ron Van Hart,Len Wagner,Chun-Kang Wang,Tommy Chang,Hakan Coskuner
Camera and Electrical Department Scotty Allan,Laurence Bortnick,Carlo Campana,Dennis Daigle,Roger Finlay,David Harcourt,John Holosko,David Kellner,Mike Kirilenko,Bruce Macaulay,Christopher Nethercoat,Ted Overton,Peter Rosenfeld,Ray Che-Wai Wong,Ron Yolevsky,Robbi Hinds
Casting Department Maria Armstrong,Karen Church,Jeff Marshall,Jane Rogers
Costume and Wardrobe Department Quita Alfred,Pauline Chung,Linda Petty
Editorial Department Shelley Croft,Chris Hinton,Russell Langille,Catherine Rankin,Ron Wisman Jr.,Chisako Yokoyama,Vaughan Killin,Fulvio Valsangiacomo
Location Management Celeste Butt,Dorigen Fode
Music Department Mark Curry,Patricia Joseph,Pilar McCurry,Denise Okimoto,David E. Russo,Melodee Sutton,Brian Williams,Joshua Winget,Ashley Revell
Script and Continuity Department Samantha Armstrong
Transportation Department Jason C. Gates,Fred Ionson,Bruce Raymer
Additional Crew John ‘Frenchie’ Berger,Darryl Chan,Fernando DaSilva,Lori Greenberg,Melissa Hall,Steve Holt,Cynthia Lejeune,David McIlroy,Peter Phillips,Catherine Sample,Karen Sharp,Misha Skoric,Dave Ian Smith,Alan Sutton,Lori Tilkin,Dave Tommasini,Karen Tyrell,Benny Urquidez,Nick Veziris,Carole Wattles,Ray Zimmerman,David Krae
Genres Action, Comedy, Crime
Companies TriStar Pictures, Amen Ra Films, Zide-Perry Productions
Countries USA
Languages English
ContentRating R
ImDbRating 6
ImDbRatingVotes 30200
MetacriticRating 31
Keywords male rear nudity,male nudity,video store,vhs,reference to the spice girls