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殺手之王 (1998)

Reviewed by: Hyomil
Date: 04/07/2011

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: j.crawford
Date: 07/16/2006
Summary: wonderfully constructed

Jet Li is back in top form in his new movie "Hitman". Paired with a top notch supporting cast, he plays a Chinese mainlander living in over-crowded Hong Kong, trying to make his fortune in the triad underworld. He's a good-hearted hitman who is well trained, but won't kill or injure innocent victims. When an old Japanese mob boss is murdered, a US$100 million revenge fund is offered to find the killer.

Eric Tsang portrays a minor HK triad player who teams up with Jet after recognizing the mainlander's special fighting skills. Together they compete with other highly trained killers including the old man's grandson and a high-kicking fighter with tricks up his sleeve. Simon Yam plays a top HK police official watching the whole lot while trying to control the mayhem.

Li and Tsang have a lot of wonderful comedic scenes together. Many involve the very beautiful Gigi Leung in the role of Kiki, Sam's (Tsang) daughter, who is graduating from law school. Jet Li's acting is much improved in this film, probably his best performance in a modern setting to date. All kudos go to Gordon Chan who had wonderful success with Jet Li in "Fist of Legend". The screenplay for "Hitman" is wonderfully constructed and the characters are very well written.

Of course, the action is non-stop! The fighting scenes are great as well as the 'SDU' elements of the film. In the end credits there are 5 action directors listed including Tung Wai. One of the best scenes has Jet, as the poor mainlander, chasing a $5 coin as it rolls through bustling Hong Kong traffic.

Presented at the Music Palace Theatre in NYC, I saw the film on Saturday, April 18, 1998.

Copyright 1998 John Crawford

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: dandan
Date: 07/03/2006
Summary: and her...

a rich yakuza boss is killed, by the killing angel assassin, activating a clause in his will that will pay the person that avenges his death $100 million. jet li stars as fu, a down on his luck mainlander, who has come to hong kong as an assassin; the thing is, he's too soft-hearted and won't kill the old, young or women. still, he wants to earn money to buy his mother a nice house so, when he hears about the $100million contract he investigates. fu bumps into crocodile man (eric tsang), a low-grade con man and 'agent' for hired killers. for some reason he's putting up the $5million deposit, that makes him eligible for the $100million reward and he takes fu under his wing. the two then set out to earn their reward, but things are not quite that straight-forward...

this is a good fun film, tsang and li work very well together. the supporting cast are very good too; simon yam, plays the cop investigating the murder; gloria yip smoulders as tsang's daughter and sato keiji is nicely evil as the grandson of the murdered yakuza boss, who has different plans for the $100million.

all in all, it's a decent film, the comedy generally hits the spot, the plot is well-paced and engaging, the cast are good and the action doesn't disappoint either. great fun for a sunday evening.

Reviewed by: Arshadnm6
Date: 04/10/2005
Summary: Decent who-dunnit action flick, not going anywhere......

Fu (Jet Li) is a broke, unlucky ex-soldier (making people feel sorry for him) who accidentally joins a low-rent triad (Eric Tsang) to participate in a $100 million dollar manhunt by killing the unknown ‘King of Assassins’ responsible for the murder of a powerful Japanese crime lord. All of the high-classed international criminals, including the crime lord’s grandson are frantically after the reward. Fu seems to be able to apprehend the culprit, but is too nice and good-natured whilst being constantly deceived and delayed by the low-rent triad. Gigi Leung stars as the low-rent triad’s daughter (a proud and righteous lawyer who is constantly humiliated by her father’s profession and on bad terms with him because of this) and takes a love interest in Fu following some misunderstandings in the beginning. Meanwhile, a maverick cop (Simon Yam Tat-Wah) is relentlessly investigating the intentions of the reward seekers (particularly Fu and the low-rent triad).

Jet Li plays a nice guy in this movie and as a result does not even convince anyone of his background as an ex-soldier and neither does Eric Tsang as a triad member due to his childish. Both of them are the main actors and the movie mainly focuses on their tom foolery and misadventures. The movie constantly carries a low-budget feel at certain points which this movie obviously is not viewing the talented actors offered. The length of this movie is correct and does not over-stretch any issues along with the plot which carries a few subplots and some surprising twists. The mood of the movie is quite level-headed and never gets too furious or serious since it is an action-thriller comedy/crime storyline.

The movie was produced by Gordon Chan (writer/director of ‘Beast Cops’) and directed by Stephen Tung Wai (actor in ‘Hard Boiled’) to set-up a triad-style movie. However, the result is never as convincing and the movie never seems to be moving in any particular direction since the love affair between the Gigi Leung and Jet Li dominates most of the central parts of the movie leaving the rough edges to deal with the manhunt. This is intentionally done to give an opportunity for both Jet Li and Eric Tsang (shifting to a slightly serious role as opposed to his previous movies) to shine through with their performance with reasonable effect (as a result this attempts to show audiences of what these actors have to offer).

Overall, this movie has some good points to offer but breaks no barriers in any way. It also is very watch-able but only for the one time.

Overall Rating: 6.9/10

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: pjshimmer
Date: 08/12/2002

It just so happens that I liked this movie about the same as most of the other people. And yes grimes, the poster is extra cool. It made me want to see more of Gigi Leung!!

I picked up this movie because of 2 reasons. One, 3 of the 4 stars are (now anyway) on top of my fav list, and two, because everyone said it was good. Well, you already know that I liked it, but I'm still gonna reveal some comments.

First off, the cast is quite superb here. However, it's already noticeble that Jet Li is getting older by the day. He looked marvelous in his younger days, but when this movie came out he was about the same age as Madonna. Well, I can overlook that. Eric Tsang is okay here; I can't give him any more than that because he is one of the best actors IMO and I've seen better stuff from him. Gigi Leung's small role didn't allow her to excersize much talent - although I'm still not sure how much she has. Being a major HK popstar these days doesn't exactly require talent. As for Simon Yam, he was better than I expected.

Action-wise, this movie had some great sequences, but they're not as good as My Father is a Hero IMO. Rather, it's about the same as Bodyguard from Beijing. I like the bad guy using his ring to do the trick. Let's face it, Jet Li can't go on doing martial arts moves for the rest of his life, and nothing he does these days can outdo what he did in the early 90s. So I'm almost convinced that he should just stop making martial arts movies before attempting any more.

Story-wise, there is a fairly amount of plot twist and suspense in the film, but it's not very believable. Still, the secret is revealed so nonstoppingly quickly that I am still trying to make some sense out of it (now 3 days after seeing the film). It seems that they are trying to fill your mind with confusing stuff that seemingly make sense, and then without a second of pause it moves on.

All in all, I recommend this movie if you are a die hard Jet Li fan. otherwise, he has made at least 10 better movies than this. See all of them before this one.


Reviewed by: Inner Strength
Date: 01/12/2002
Summary: Not bad

Much better than HArd Risk, but again, this movie has been done before, several times.

I was suprised to find that most of Jet Lis stunts looked real for once, only a few of them seemed to be using wires! Gigi Leung played well, but her part was too small I think. Eric Tsang was slightly more interesting than most of his movies though, but still annoying.

Gordon Chan produced this, and I must admit to liking most of this work, and this is pretty well put together, but still doesn't help for the fact that the story is nothing new. Seems like the same Chinese vs Japanese movie at times too!

Rating (out of 5): 3

(This rating is based on the year & genre, so don't think it's based as a comparison on new releases etc.)

Reviewed by: nomoretitanic
Date: 02/05/2001
Summary: NOT hoaky

Jet Li's a good guy. He's got a bundle of grace and screen presence, enough to not hate him even after all the crappy films he's been in. Hitman here now gives you more reasons to not hate him. This movie is very slick solid actions chemistry and a standard (the good kind of standard) plot that serves its purpose of building up cool sequences without ripping the viewers off.

Jet here plays a hitman with the heart of gold. far-fetched but his charm suspends your disbelief. This is the most likable Jet Li character next to Fong SaiYuk. A wise choice on Benny Chan's part on shooting the film in sync sound. His sidekick Eric Tsang has elevated his character from a bumbly clown to a bumbly clown that we care about. The rest of the cast is pretty solid, with good chemistry and adequete acting and all. Even though I think the villains have too much fun with their characters, playing up their one-dimensional malevolence, but hey, as long as they're having fun.

The direction of this movie is flawless for this kind of picture. The cinematography is superb, no gimmicky camera tricks thrown in to distract you from the action, the slow-motions and overexposures and uses of colors are all here TO SERVE A PURPOSE (remember that for your next film Sammo and Yuen Kwei.) The pace and rhythm are fast, despite the lack of major action seqeunces in the first act (and that's a good thing too, wets your appetite without spoiling it.)

The action sequences in this movie are great. Jet Li doesn't dodge bullets here, nor does he levitate. In most of the martial arts movies, fighters go at it against each other with such incredible speed and chemistry and timing that sometimes it's hard to tell who is attacking and who is defending because the two's movements match so perfectly with hands and feet in such precise places it's like the choreographer slapping your face over and over again going: "These guys have rehearsed the sequence over and over again so you better appreciate it." Well that is not so in Hitman. The movements in the fights were crystal clear. A lot of milatary manuevers are incoporated in the choreography, every move and its subsequent moves seem pretty plausible.

One minor flaw in the movie is its multi-lingual dialogues. It seems that everyone here is fluent in English, Japanese, Mandarin and Cantonese and they have no problem understanding each other--like the scenes in Star Wars with humanoids conversing in English and the aliens responding in their alien languages. It's plausible I guess but nevertheless a distraction.

Anyways, Hitman is a superb action movie with good story characters and action and minor ignorable problems.

Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 08/04/2000
Summary: OK i guess

I goto admit i felt bored watching this!! A lot of talk, and MORE talk and not much action as you would expect from a JEt LI movie!!

The cast is fine here and Eric Tsang puts in his usual good performance!!
DEFINATELY not what i was expecting when i watched this!! I'll say it again, i felt like they just kept TALKING!!

Mind you, i did see a BAD copy of this movie but i still give this


Reviewed by: grimes
Date: 04/08/2000

Jet Li's films over the past few yuears have definitely been a mixed bag. Some have been outright bad, such as Bodyguard
From Beijing. Some have been mediocre, like Doctor Wai in "The Scipture with No Words". Others, like My Father is a Hero
and Once Upon a Time in China and America have been pretty good. The Hitman, fortunately, continues with the trend set
by OUTICAA, topping that film and comparing favorably to the Fong Sai Yuk films, my personal Jet Li favorites.

In this movie, Jet plays a wannabe hitman who just seems like way too nice a guy to actually kill anyone. When a wealthy
Japanese business man is killed by the "Angel of Death", an unknown killer on a mission to exterminate evil, Jet decides to
pursue the $1,000,000 grand prize for catching the killer. He teams up with Eric Tsang, who plays the goofy buddy in this
picture. Tsang is a shiftless grifter (gotta love that phrase) who basically takes advantage of Jet in pursuit of money.

The film can basically be divided into two parts. The introduction introduces the characters, which also include Simon Yam
as the policeman assigned to the case, and Gigi Leung as Tsang's daughter. There are some great comic sequences between
Jet (whose acting is getting better) and these other characters, including one brilliant sendup of a number of other famous
movie killers (a reward for the HK film cognoscenti).

The second half has Jet, with Tsang tagging along, chasing after clues to the killer's identity, and features a great plot twist.
Throughout the film, there are fabulous action sequences, well choreographed and beautifully directed. Stephen Tung Wai
uses changes of color, slow motion, and changes in film quality to bring the action sequences to life, without obscuring the
fundamental grace of the action. The music also helps, providing a background of subtle unease which is very effective.

Jet is in prime form as an action star, bouncing around the screen like a human anime. This is what we've come to expect
from him, but I still absolutely love watching him. He is so graceful it's absolutely amazing, especially considering that he is
now in his late 30s or early 40s.

For Jet Li and action fans, this film will not dissapoint. It is not deep, nor is it an artistic masterpiece, but it is a great action
film with some excellent comic work from Jet and Eric Tsang. Plus the movie posters are just so cool (anybody want to give
me one?). I've seen the film twice and it only got better the second time.

Reviewed by: ralphbrown
Date: 02/02/2000
Summary: Jet Li: Mr. Nice Guy

Some people used to say (and maybe they still do) that Jet Li couldn't do anything but period movies. I guess it took some time for audiences to get used to him having hair. Anyway, "Hitman" is a good movie. The script manages to make Li's character a nice guy while the profession he's chosen isn't known for such sentiment. Likewise the film successfully balances its comedic and dramatic portions. There's a nice, funny montage of Li trying out clothes (wearing Chow Yun-Fat's look from "A Better Tomorrow" and Jean Reno's from "The Professional" -- potted plant and all).

The cast is quite good, too. Gigi Leung Wing-Kei makes for a pleasant romantic interest while the chemistry between Jet Li and Simon Yam Tat-Wah is terrific. The glances they exchange while trying to size up ne another are great. I only wish they had shared more scenes together. I've never been a big fan of Eric Tsang Chi-Wai, but he was fine here.

"Hitman" has nice action and some heart. Recommended.

Reviewed by: Mark
Date: 12/30/1999
Summary: Rousing finish to Jet's Hong Kong career

An elderly Yakuza boss takes a bullet in the opening scene, but as he does so he threatens his masked assailant with the news that he has salted away $100 million in a special vengeance fund. It's no bluff; and even before the evil old boy's ashes are cold the most skilled hitmen in the world start arriving in Hong Kong to join the hunt for the mysterious "King of Killers". One such hopeful is Tai Feng (Jet Li), a hitman with a track record of zero; he is so darn nice that he has yet to bump anyone off. Lacking both a reputation and a tux, he is barred entry from the killer's convention until conman Sam Wong (Eric Tsang) cottons on to the kid's potential and steps in as his agent. Once Tai has been dressed for success (a hilarious scene about the importance of wardrobe in the killing game), they hit the trail.

Like many Hong Kong films, Hitman is about honour and family. Sam is the despair of his law student daughter (Gigi Leung), but he just can't stop his swindling ways. The Yakuza's grandson has his own notions of filial obligation, which involve him personally avenging gramps' death (and thereby keeping the $100M in the family). A showdown between the factions is inevitable, despite the best attempts of the HK police (Simon Yam) to deport anybody with "professional assassin" on their entry visa.

Hardened action fans might be irritated by the screen time devoted to Sam's wacky schemes, but rest assured that the film's final fights provide a rousing finish to Jet Li's Hong Kong career. Note that this is also the first time that Jet has used his real voice in a film - he is usually dubbed, so as not to offend HK moviegoers with his outrageous mainland accent! (Thanks to the Small Potato for that HK factoid.).