Hitman (HK 1998)

Rating: ***
Cast: Jet Li, Eric Tsang, Simon Yam, Gigi Leung

A rich Japanese businessman sets up a $100 million revenge fund in the event that he's assassinated. Jet Li is a poor and kind hearted ex-soldier who wants to give it a try, with con-man Eric Tsang as his swindling agent. Simon Yam enters the fray as a cop investigating the case and Tsang's daughter (super cute Gigi Leung) is busy trying to keep her dad out of trouble. The first half of the film is pretty tedious, relying heavily on verbal humor and Eric Tsang's outrageousness, but it takes a radical turn in the second half in terms of both action and seriousness. Almost too late in the film, Jet Li finally starts kicking some butt, and the action scenes are well orchestrated and filmed. Jet Li still has the moves, but he's really beginning to show his age. There's also a great moment early on when he spoofs Mark (Chow Yun Fat) from "A Better Tomorrow" (1986) and Leon (Jean Reno) from "The Professional" (1994). Quick and subtle, but quite entertaining. A good solid film that's well made and marginally interesting, and is even in stereo sync sound!