The Big Hit (1998)

Rating: B+

Dir: Kirk Wong
Star: Mark Wahlberg, Lou Diamond Phillips, China Chow, Christina Applegate

Wong hits the ground running, producing the most impressive Hollywood debut of any of the new wave of Hong Kong ‘refugees’ – not having to work with Jean-Claude Van Damme clearly helps. This is reminiscent of Grosse Pointe Blank: that was a ‘funny hitman’ movie, while this is a ‘funny kidnapper’ one. Wahlberg and his pals kidnap an industrialist’s daughter unaware that a) he has just gone bankrupt, and b) she is their boss’s god-daughter. Not a wise move. Wong handles the myriad elements with confidence, though as also in GPB, the romance doesn’t quite gel. The chief revelation is Phillips, as Wahlberg’s scheming associate, almost unrecognisable and displaying a comedic sense hitherto unsuspected. An excellent start to Wong’s American career.