It’s sad to see the career of a talented actor be knocked about by the folks in Hollywood. How many times have we seen an actor display great depth, many characters, work hard no matter what roles they were given and go so far as to receive Hollywood’s highest accolade, the Oscar, only to disappear or find themselves in lesser films? Such has been the case with Cuba Gooding Jr.
A talented actor who did fantastic jobs in high profile films like BOYS IN THE HOOD and RADIO, Gooding has been relegated to B movie releases of late. These are films that usually go straight to DVD with little or no promotion. But the truth is that even these films give us the chance to have a top notch actor in what some would call a lesser quality film. I disagree.
THE HIT LIST stars Cole Hauser as Allan Campbell, a businessman with problems. In debt to a loan shark and depending on a promised promotion he finds himself passed over for someone else. Then he goes home to find his wife and best friend in the midst of an affair as she tells him that the life has gone out of their marriage since he seems consumed with the job. What to do? Hit the bar and start drinking.
At the bar he hears on the news that a controversial TV announcer has been murdered. As he starts his binge, he begins a conversation with another guy at the bar named Jonas (Gooding) who isn’t really interested in talking. But something that Allan says piques Jonas’ interest and the two spend the night drinking. During this night Jonas reveals to Allan that he’s the hit man who made the assassination in the news. Allan laughs it off but Jonas tells him to make a list of 5 names and he’ll kill each one to prove it. Quite drunk now, Allan starts with the boss, guy who got the promotion, loan shark, best friend and his wife. A quick trip to the men’s room and when he returns Jonas is gone.
Waking in his car the next morning, Allan heads to work only to find once he gets there that his boss has been murdered. Squeaking past the police he tries to find his competitor only to witness him being killed by Jonas who then takes him captive. The rest of the film plays out with Jonas trying to force Allan to stop him from continuing on, to finally take a stand for himself. He also wants to find his own redemption for a life filled with murder.
The plot runs fairly simple here and rather straight forward. So what makes it any different than any other B movie addition? First off is Gooding who does a great job here. He plays the role straight, a character who has done wrong and wants to pay but at the same time not in search of pity. He truly wants to be put down. Hauser is another B movie actor that deserves better. He might not shine as Gooding does here, but he does solid work. Lastly the thing that fares better than B movie average here is the soundtrack. This music sounds as if it comes from the latest blockbuster.
Yes this film may be relegated to the B movie rack, it might not be a film that you’ve ever heard of but it does offer some pretty decent entertainment. Other films may get the attention but this one is worth giving a shot.