Ty Burr
March 13, 1992 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Hitman

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
runtime
95 minutes
performer
Chuck Norris, Michael Parks, Alberta Watson, Al Waxman
director
Aaron Norris
distributor
Cannon Video
author
Don Carmody
genre
ActionAdventure, Mystery and Thriller

We gave it a D-

Like a beat-up Ford with a new coat of paint, The Hitman shows Chuck Norris trying to resurrect his career by aping upstart Steven Seagal. That means the karate kicks and average-Joe demeanor of chopsocky classics like Lone Wolf McQuade have been replaced by shotguns, leather pants, and a silly hairdo. This may do the trick for action junkies, especially since the plot (undercover cop Norris plays off Italian, French, and Arab drug gangs against each other) is serviceable and the violence comes in slick bursts. Unfortunately, Hitman carries a moral message that’s hypocritical even by this genre’s cruddy standards. Interspersed between the blood squibs, Arab bashing, and jugheaded street talk is a dire subplot about Norris befriending the Sensitive Black Child Next Door, teaching him the wonders of model warplanes and martial arts (”Punch the solar plex, Timmy — that’s where it hurts”). For all the male-bonding pap, though, The Hitman exists simply to show big guys inflicting great pain on other big guys. It doesn’t really matter who or why. D-

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