Hitman (1998)
Reviewed by: j.crawford on 2006-07-16
Summary: wonderfully constructed
Jet Li is back in top form in his new movie "Hitman". Paired with a top notch supporting cast, he plays a Chinese mainlander living in over-crowded Hong Kong, trying to make his fortune in the triad underworld. He's a good-hearted hitman who is well trained, but won't kill or injure innocent victims. When an old Japanese mob boss is murdered, a US$100 million revenge fund is offered to find the killer.

Eric Tsang portrays a minor HK triad player who teams up with Jet after recognizing the mainlander's special fighting skills. Together they compete with other highly trained killers including the old man's grandson and a high-kicking fighter with tricks up his sleeve. Simon Yam plays a top HK police official watching the whole lot while trying to control the mayhem.

Li and Tsang have a lot of wonderful comedic scenes together. Many involve the very beautiful Gigi Leung in the role of Kiki, Sam's (Tsang) daughter, who is graduating from law school. Jet Li's acting is much improved in this film, probably his best performance in a modern setting to date. All kudos go to Gordon Chan who had wonderful success with Jet Li in "Fist of Legend". The screenplay for "Hitman" is wonderfully constructed and the characters are very well written.

Of course, the action is non-stop! The fighting scenes are great as well as the 'SDU' elements of the film. In the end credits there are 5 action directors listed including Tung Wai. One of the best scenes has Jet, as the poor mainlander, chasing a $5 coin as it rolls through bustling Hong Kong traffic.

Presented at the Music Palace Theatre in NYC, I saw the film on Saturday, April 18, 1998.

Copyright 1998 John Crawford

Reviewer Score: 8