The Big Hit (1998)

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Released 19-May-1999

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Deleted Scenes-3
Audio Commentary-Che-Kirk Wong (Director) & Terence Chang (Exec Prod)
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Theatrical Trailer
Scene Selection Anim & Audio
Dolby Digital Trailer-City
DVD Teaser Trailer-#2
Scene Selection Anim & Audio
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 1998
Running Time ?
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Che-Kirk Wong

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Mark Wahlberg
Lou Diamond Phillips
Christina Applegate
Avery Brooks
Bokeem Woodbine
Antonio Sabato, Jr.
Lainie Kazan
Elliott Gould
Sab Shimono
Case Brackley-Trans-No Lip
RPI $36.95 Music Graeme Revell

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English Audio Commentary
French Audio Commentary
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    The Big Hit is an action movie with its tongue firmly planted in its cheek. It combines spectacular action with some excellent comedy.

    Melvin Smiley (Mark Wahlberg) is a contract killer who is good at his job. Unfortunately, that's about all he is good at - he wants everyone to like him, so he continually gets used and abused, especially by the rest of his team including Cisco (Lou Diamond Phillips).

    Cisco comes up with a plan to make some money on the side, and Melvin reluctantly agrees to go along with it because he needs the money. The plan is to kidnap Keiko Nishi (China Chow) and hold her for ransom. Two problems; her father has just become bankrupt, and she is the goddaughter of the killers' boss (Avery Brooks).

    Once Cisco realizes the mistake he has made, he tries to pin it all on Melvin, putting Melvin in a, shall we say, very precarious position.

    This movie is very much an ensemble piece, with all of the actors contributing nicely to it. There are a number of genuinely funny comedic sequences and running gags all of the way through the movie, the acting is great, the story is very clever, and the stunts are spectacular. A great 90 minutes or so of entertainment!

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Transfer Quality


    As we have come to expect from Columbia Tristar, this is essentially a perfect video transfer.

    The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer was razor sharp and crystal clear throughout. Shadow detail was excellent, and no low level noise was apparent.

    The colours were well rendered at all times with lots of pastel shades and vibrant colours at times, all presented immaculately with no trace of colour bleeding.

    There were one or two scene changes where the slightest hint of MPEG artefacts were seen. These consisted of a tiny loss of resolution of the preceding scene before the new scene established itself. These artefacts were trivial in nature, and just barely noticeable. Film-to-video artefacts were essentially non-existent with only some trivial aliasing present in some long shots of skyscrapers. Film artefacts were extremely rare.


    There are four audio tracks on this DVD - English Dolby Digital 2.0, surround-encoded, English Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1 and the Audio Commentary track in Dolby Digital 2.0, surround-encoded. I listened to both the English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack and the Audio Commentary track. As is always the inexplicable case when an English 2.0 surround-encoded soundtrack is on a Columbia Tristar disc, this is the default soundtrack

    The overall level of this soundtrack was a little low. After a short time, I raised the level 5dB and was much happier with the overall sound.

    Dialogue was pretty much always spot on and easy to understand except for the odd word here and there. This is despite there often being a lot of ambient noise in the background.

    There were no audio sync problems.

    The score by Graeme Revell was suitably stylish and aggressive and provided an excellent backdrop to the unfolding action on-screen.

     The surround channels were extremely aggressively utilized for music, special effects and ambience. This is a superbly enveloping soundtrack with aggressive sound cues coming from the entire soundfield.

    The .1 channel received a huge amount of signal, adding immensely to the enjoyment of this movie.


    We have a good helping of great extras on this disc. Both the DVCC splash and the Dolby Digital City trailer are on this disc.


    The menu design is a cut above the ordinary Columbia Tristar menu. The menu is not 16x9 enhanced, but it does have menu animation and scene selection animation, with audio accompaniment for the main menu. This is nicely tied in with the overall feel of the movie, helping to set the mood for the movie.

Audio Commentary - Che-Kirk Wong (Director) and Terence Chang (Executive Producer)

    Much to my surprise, this was actually a very good audio commentary. Both parties contribute, with Che-Kirk speaking the most. He is easy to understand, despite his accent, and he gives many good insights into the movie. Terence Chang prompts him when he runs out of things to say. This commentary is well worth the time spent listening to it, and at one particular point early on, had me rolling about laughing.

Theatrical Trailer

    This is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, non-16x9 enhanced, with Dolby Digital 5.1 sound. It sells the movie nicely.

Deleted Scenes

    This is a presentation of 3 deleted scenes from the movie, in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, non-16x9 enhanced with Dolby Digital 5.1 sound. Whilst the quality of the image is not that good, as is the case with all of this type of extra, this is far outweighed by the interest that these scenes create. A very worthwhile extra.

DVD Trailer

    This is the new Columbia Tristar teaser trailer. It is presented at an aspect ratio of 4:3 with Dolby Digital 5.1 sound.


    This is a limited list of the stars' film credits.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 version of this DVD misses out on;

    This would tip the scales in favour of the R1 version.


    The Big Hit will not be everyone's cup of tea. The disc, as are pretty much all of Columbia Tristar offerings, is pretty much perfect. I'd suggest you rent this one before you buy it, unless you like the movie, in which case you will not be disappointed.

    The video quality is almost perfect.

    The audio quality is a great, aggressively immersive mix.

    The extras are excellent in quality. It's a shame we missed out on the second commentary track.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Michael Demtschyna (read my bio)
Wednesday, May 26, 1999
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-505, using S-Video output
DisplayLoewe Art-95 (95cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL).
Audio DecoderDenon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital decoder. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum.
Amplification2 x EA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifiers for Left, Right, Left Rear and Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer
SpeakersPhilips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Yamaha B100-115SE subwoofer

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