Hit List, The (2011)

Rated: R for violence and language
Perhaps 100 minutes

D,D,C,C= D

Rotten Tomatoes:
Not enough scores to report

$6 million

Box Office:
$0 million (Unable to get any information on it)

Written by: Chad & Evan Law (First major movie)
Directed by: William Kaufman (First major movie)
Starring: Cuba Gooding Jr and Cole Hauser
With: Jonathan LaPaglia

A man gets beat up by a gangster, loses a major promotion to a weasel, and discovers his wife in bed with his best friend. Then he happens into a bar where he meets a professional killer who begins methodically killing the people he agreed to list on a bar napkin in what he thought was a joke.

I knew this one was a gamble going in because it didn’t screen in theaters and it came to my attention in the previews of some other movie with a bunch of clearly sub-par films. But the idea caught my interest and I took a risk on Cuba Gooding Jr. It was not a rewarding gamble. This is my most despised category of movie. It had a brilliant concept with plenty of moral significance that was written terribly and acted/directed even worse. USA Network would be embarrassed to produce something this weak, even down to the horrible rip-off of The Terminator end sequence in the police station that culminates in a ridiculous drawn-out cheap horror movie style ending. Everything here was done wrong. Wrong, wrong wrong. And the sad thing is that it had so much to say and couldn’t figure out how to say it well enough to matter. I still have no idea how Cuba Gooding Jr. wound up involved in this, but then again he hasn’t had a good movie since Radio, soooo….

Discussion Questions:
~Jonas at one point tells Allan in reference to the hit list, “Everybody has names.” What does he mean by this? Does everyone have people they sort of wish were dead?
~In what way does this movie embody the Biblical idea that hating a person in your heart is really the beginning of murdering them?
~In what way might you say that Jonas is really just the Mr. Hyde alter-ego inside of all of us embodying our sinful and hateful tendencies brought vividly to life? Do you think that seeing or imagining your inner evil worked out fully in life is enough to shock us into nipping it in the bud?
~Jonas claims to be Allan’s only real friend because he will tell him the unvarnished truth, even if it’s offensive. Do you think this is a key element of a real friend?
~If someone were methodically killing your enemies, how hard would you fight to stop him and defend them? Would you die to try to protect people you secretly sort of would like to see dead?

Overall Grade: D
This is a movie that could have been, should have been, and surely would have been so much better and fascinating if only the right hands had been entrusted with it. As it is, it’s a train wreck that nevertheless manages to still say some interesting things.

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