Running Time: 104 minutes
MPAA Rating: N/R, probably R
Format: Widescreen 1.80:1
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1
Languages: Cantonese, Mandarin
Subtitles: Chinese and English
Region: All
MSRP: $29.95

Own It!
Hitman (1998) (Import)

Hitman is the last movie Jet Li (Fist of Legend) made in Hong Kong before coming to America, and perhaps fittingly, it's a bit of a departure from the other movies he's made. Rather than playing a moral and physical superman, the character he plays here is somewhat clumsy and humorous most of the time.

After a mysterious assassin kills a Japanese businessman in the penthouse of his HK building, a competition is started to find the unknown killer, with the prize being a $100 million trust that the business man set up just for this purpose. Somehow, migrant worker Fu (Li) gets in on the game, even though he's not really an assassin… or is he?

The movie is structured as a mystery, but it doesn't take much to figure out who the "Killing Angel" really is. Whole plot threads are brought up, like Fu's romance with his agent's daughter, and then dropped, apparently because the movie was written on the fly. However, Hitman does have some good action scenes, so if you're a fan of Jet Li, you'll probably enjoy it.

Mei Ah's DVD of Hitman looks adequate, if not great. There is damage to the print they used, and scenes with extreme brightness look washed out and scenes that unfold in darkness look murky.

The sound is supposed to be in Dolby Digital 5.1, but there doesn't seem to be much left and right separation. I suspect that they just pumped a mono track through all the speakers.

Unlike most HK films, Hitman was shot with synch sound, and even rarer, Hitman features Jet Li voicing his own performance, so the lack of care in constructing the soundtrack is that much more disappointing, especially at the current price point of nearly $50.

There are English subtitles, and they are relatively good.

The only extra included is the movie's trailer.

Scott Hamilton, 4/17/00