Mafioso Half-Breed: The Hitman

Stallone had his marble-mouthed street savvy. Arnold had his ironic sense of humor. Jean-Claude had his Gallic sex appeal. None of ‘em had real acting chops, neither did say, Gary Cooper, but charisma not dramatic abilities maketh a star. Then what the hell did Chuck Norris have? Long before he become a Right Wing politico and a long-running Internet MEME, there was the man, the stubbly red beard and those unwaveringly monotone line-reads.

"So you see that's why had Reagan's economic policies been given more time to gestate, we wouldn't be in the mess we're in today and little colored boys like you would be wealthy just like us whites. Blame your mom for voting Clinton in '92."

Whether he’s making a cold-blooded threat or cracking a sardonic joke, Chuck always sounds the same. But whereas the similarly lacking Steven Seagal often found interesting vehicles to mask his dramatic deficiencies, Chuck always managed to stumble upon material as juiceless as himself. The Hitman, while better than say, Sidekicks, isn’t really the exception.

It starts in Seattle, Officer Cliff Garrett (Norris) and his partner Del Delaney (Michael Parks) are embroiled in a dockside skirmish with local baddies. After the gunsmoke clears, Del turns on Garrett - riddling him with bullets and leaving him for dead.

"Chuck apologizes in advance for any intimate beard rash that may result from his oral attentions."

Deep in a coma, Cliffy waivers between life and death in the county hospital. The attending doc tells Garrett’s boss Chambers (Ken Pogue) that he might be a “different man” if he recovers. Boy, is he ever! Three year later, the new Chuck has ditched the mustachioed and blown dry cop crop - now he wears a full beard and a long, slippery Kentucky waterfall! He’s also become awful trigger happy as of late.

See, Garrett has become Grogan, undercover hitman for the Seattle Mafia. Never mind that his itchy trigger finger probably would have rendered the State’s case inadmissible in court and resulted in Chuck’s dischargement from the police force. None of it matters, really. By film’s end, all the targets of the State’s case are dead and Chuck, he’s become too disillusioned about the criminal justice system to give two shits about his career anyway.

"Nuncio, not tempered glass nor state zoophilia laws can tear our love apart."

How did it all come to this? Well, a new breed of hood has muscled into town: the Iranian Mob! They’re suspiciously Un-American: they practice a strange religion, eat strange food, speak a strange language and enjoy bellydancing. I smells evil, and it smells like chelow kabab! The presence of the Iranians sparks an all out gang-war involving both the Italians and the French-Canadian Mob (?) and somewhere, pulling all the strings, is Chuck’s former partner Delaney.

It’s all really bloody and all really boring. To break up the tough guy posturing and rampant xenophobia, there’s a saccharine plotline with a fatherless kid-next-door. I suppose this is meant to imbue Chuck’s character with a drop of humanity, but more likely you’ll just be giving the fast-forward button a work out. You can do the same for most of this witless, unmemorable actioner and trust me, you won’t be missing much. Still, it’s much better than THIS.


Post a Comment