Eric the would-be assassin is such a nice, caring fellow that Hitman
has an immediate credibility problem: how could Eric (oriental superstar Jet Li in his follow-up to Lethal Weapon 4
) ever believe he could be a cold-blooded murderer? The script tries to get around this by emphasising his poverty, and once he meets conman Norman (Hong Kong comedy star Eric Tsang), the film manages to blend amiable humour with amoral characters and polished action into an entertaining whole. A yakusa crime lord has been murdered by the Angel of Death, a professional hitman who only kills those he believes deserve to die. Getting well out of their depth in the hunt for the assassin, Li and Tsang make an appealing double act, while Gigi Leung is charming as Norman's lawyer daughter. With a moderately involved plot and an emphasis on character, action is limited to five well-staged set-pieces which are stylishly conceived, exciting and don't outstay their welcome. The finale even has a joke at the expense of Die Hard
's running across broken glass, while the ending sets up the inevitable sequel. A long way from Li's magnificent Once Upon A Time in China
is efficient, highly watchable Hong Kong entertainment. --Gary S Dalkin
Tai Feng (Jet Li) is that rare thing; a hitman with a conscience. Allowing his personal sense of justice to guide him, Feng never carries out a killing he feels to be morally wrong. When his agent Sam (Eric Tsang) collaborates with him on the theft of billions from local mobsters, it is up to Feng to use his martial arts skills to save both his friend and the money.