8:00 PM, 7th May, 1999
While working on a movie, the sound effects specialist meddles with the progress of the story, using every technical trick in the book in order to prevent the hero of the film from catching up with the woman he lusts after.
But such techniques sometimes backfire...
8:05 PM, 7th May, 1999
Don Diego de la Vega (Hopkins) successfully finishes his last mission as Zorro, believing that as the governor Don Rafael Montero has been recalled to Spain he too can retire. That evening, however, Montero tracks him down and in the ensuing fight Zorro is captured, his wife is killed and his daughter Elena stolen. Many years later, Montero returns to California with Elena (Zeta-Jones), this time with a plan to become its sole ruler. Of course, she has no idea of her true family. Zorro escapes from his prison and turns to a bandit, Alejandro (Banderas), to help foil Montero's plan. Alejandro has his own reasons for adopting the mask of Zorro, as Montero's sidekick has killed Alejandro's companion and brother.
That's a quick summary and it ignores some of the film's depths and the motivations it introduces for the various characters, which are often melodramatic but at least well executed. One of this movie's strengths is that events build solidly on each other, and (with the exception of the 'teaser' action sequence right at the beginning) the action set pieces fit well. The cast is also solid, with Hopkins providing a useful gravitas to Banderas' more flamboyant character.
The main drawback is probably its length. Bosom heaving and sword-waving is difficult to sustain for more than two hours, and the final battle and denouement are nothing that hasn't been done before. One wonders how this compares with the 80s version, Zorro, the Gay Blade, in which Zorro had multiple costumes in lovely hues?
10:15 PM, 7th May, 1999
Melvin Smiley (Wahlberg), a successful young hitman, is living a normal everyday life for his Jewish fianc Pam (Applegate), but kills for money in his boss Paris' (Brooks) organisation. In addition, he has a relationship with a beauty from the neighbourhood and gets bothered by a pimply video store guy, because he did not return King Kong Lives for two weeks. He and his three team-mates Cisco, Crunch and Vince decide one day to kidnap Keiko, the daughter of super-rich businessman Jiro Nishi. What they do not know is that Jiro just went completely bankrupt due to a failed movie production, and, even worse, that Keiko is Paris' goddaughter. Paris and his men are now searching for the kidnappers in order to grind them up properly. Meanwhile, handcuffed Keiko falls in love with killer Melvin while both prepare a kosher meal in order to satisfy Pam's visiting parents, who are out of the house with Pam (with a body in the boot!)
The screenplay for The Big Hit was picked up by a Hollywood literary manager and passed on to Wesley Snipes' production company, who took it on and involved Terence Chang (John Woo's partner). Director Wong and producer Garcia went through over 100 scripts before settling on this one to launch their career in North America. I think they could have chosen better.