The Hit List (Blu-ray)
What would you get if you took the film COLLATERAL switch the A-list actors of Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx with B-list actors such as Cuba Gooding Jr. and Cole Hauser, use an extremely watered down plotline with empty characters and an amateur director? The answer is THE HIT LIST.
To be fair, I’m being far too hard on the two actors. Both Cuba and Cole were good at one time. I still believe in Cuba. He has had many good roles and some fairly good performances. Personally I find him to very likeable. However he has countered his Oscar winning performance with some stinkers. Cole Hauser I enjoyed as supporting roles in GOODWILL HUNTING and PITCH BLACK but lately he has been absolutely atrocious when it comes to acting. Cuba at least still has a magnetic presence but his performance of a sinister hitman left a lot to be desired.
It’s been one of those days for poor Allan Campbell (Cole Hauser). After losing the big promotion, Allan comes home to discover that his wife and best friend have slept together. Allan retreats to the nearest drinking hole where he runs into Jonas Arbor (Cuba Gooding Jr.). After a few drinks Allan opens up the whine fest to the mysterious but cool stranger. Jonas uses this opportunity to explain to Allan that he is a pushover and Jonas just happens to be a rogue hitman. Make a list of five people you want murdered and I’ll take care of it because we are friends, says the hitman. Allan drunkenly makes the predictable list including his boss, the jerk that got the promotion, a guy that gave him a black eye for not paying a debt, his best friend and wife. After returning from the powder room, the mysterious Jonas has disappeared. Now there’s a race to stop Jonas before he works his way to the end of the list and murder’s Allan’s wife. In the meantime, no big deal if all the innocent people including the entire incompetent police department are absurdly killed TERMINATOR style by the Cubanator. Yeah, I just coined that.
The first sign of a poor film is the overuse of flashbacks to scenes we have already seen. Basically this means either a) The story is too poorly written and the actors are too terrible to convey what anyone could be thinking or b) The director has no respect for the audience because he believes the story is so complex that the only way to know what is being referred to is to remind the audience what they’ve already seen. For the record, THE SIXTH SENSE is an exception where the director was correct in his final flashback. THE HIT LIST is definitely not complex so I’m going with incompetent and lazy.
Combining the odd electrical rock music with extremely awkward camera angles that shoot the subjects straight on gives off a college film project feel about the whole thing. But the major problem is none of the characters are likeable in the least. The most likeable person is the innocent boss who bites it almost immediately. As an audience member I did not care if anyone died and the one person we should want to be saved is a despicable human being. Here’s a tip, don’t make your only damsel in distress character a cheating floozy only to reveal semi redeemable qualities about her toward the end. When the characters aren’t likeable that means the tension in this supposed thriller is zero.
With the weak character development, the poor technical direction, the low production value, the predictable storyline and the lack of tension, THE HIT LIST has nearly run out ways to have any redeemable qualities. Do I think the film is a joke? “If it were would it be funny?”
Video: (1080p High Definition 1.78:1) The picture is very clear but some of the production used is visually awkward.
Audio: (5.1 DTS-HD MA) The audio on all the speaking parts sounded too low. The base levels hit a little hard giving off a slight reverb especially whenever Hauser speaks.