|Jet Li Lian Jie||Fu|
|Eric Tsang||Nor Lu (Crocodile Man)|
|Simon Yam||Police Inspector Kwan|
|Sato Keiji||Eiji Tsukamoto|
|Paul Rapovski||Unnamed Thug with blinding lights|
|Ip Kwong Kim||Martin, I think|
|Hidari Meiken||Geisha/Bodyguard, I think|
|Chan Heung Ka|
|Cheng Kam Fu|
I don't know that world needs another review of Hitman but it is one of my favorite Jet Li movies, probably the first I owned. I remember looking at the four figures on the box and thinking, "OK, I know which one is Jet Li and I can guess which is Gigi Leung but which is Simon Yam and which is Eric Tsang?" Now, I know. The one who is consistently flung is Eric Tsang.
It starts with a horrible old man, Mr. Tsukamoto, reminiscing happily over the atrocities he committed during WW II when he is attacked by a masked man, the Killing Angel. Tsukamoto offers his assailant triple pay and threatens him with his fund for revenge, $100,000,000 US, fifty million to kill Tsukamoto's assassin and fifty million for whoever hired him. The Killing Angel is unmoved and slays Mr. Tsukamoto.
Cut to Fu, the nicest, and least successful, hitman you'd ever want to meet. Brother Dog sends him out to debt collect and he fixes the debtor's pipes. Brother Dog sends him out to kill an old man and instead he lends the man his knife to cut watermelon. Fu just wants enough money to build his mother a house. Brother Dog tells his guys about the $100,000,000 hit and they all want the job but it is for the cream of assassins. Fu goes after it anyway.
The security at Tsukamoto Plaza try to toss Fu out on his ear but he resists and Nor Lu, called the Crocodile Man, arrives. The Crocodile Man has an invite to the meeting and asks Fu to go along with him. At the meeting, which required $5,000,000 earnest money, the Tsukamoto lawyer, Martin, explains what is known about the killer and the rules. Mr Tsukamoto's grandson, Eiji, will also be participating.
After the meeting, Crocodile Man explains to Fu why it is equitable that Fu receive 30% of the fee and he get a 70% cut. He also gives Fu a deposit in the form of new duds so Fu will appear a successful hitman instead of a down at heels one. Fu models a "Mark Gor" ensemble, then a "Leon" outfit before settling on the proper look. Nor is full of "good" advice on how to be an assassin. In fact, Nor, knows nothing about killing but he is afraid he might be fingered as the Killing Angel. As a scam, he accepted money to kill Tsukamoto. His object is to find the true Killing Angel before he himself is killed. He wants Fu's help with this.
I love this movie because of the chemistry and fine acting of the two stars. Fu, a shy, but not stupid, mainlander trying to make it big in cut throat Hong Kong, is tailor made for Li. By the way, this is one of the few HK releases where Li is not dubbed by another actor. Tsang is funny and touching as the conman who has bitten off more than he can chew. In fact, when I'm just skimming through, watching the good bits, many of the scenes I like are just Fu and Nor together, with no kicking involved. There's one where Nor has been identified as the Killing Angel and his vast quantity of pagers are going off with people trying to collect on the fund and he asks Fu to look after his daughter that I like. However, I can't give it five stars because there are a couple of bits that just make my teeth hurt. One in particular, at an ice rink, with Nor's daughter, Kiki, whining about her bad dad did not work for me.
Fu and Nor (~22K)
The Baddies (~29K)
Waiting for the other shoe (~26K)
Warning: Minor Spoilers!
You know I am a subtitle purist but I had to subject myself to Contract Killer to see how Hitman was murdered.
On to the film... There are some changes that made sense and some that were just wrong. I'm making the assumption that the subtitles are a literal, or close to it, translation of the Cantonese. If it isn't my whole world view will crumble.
Conclusion:Duh! Watch the original not this hack job unless you enjoy mediocre dubs (Kwan sounds like an attempt at a John Wayne impression) and abrasive music, with all the life sliced out.