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Gangster boss Vincent Luca shall appear in court to account for his crimes - but he has a man at the police who tells him names and locations of the witnesses, so he can kill them all - but one: In the last hit, the professional killer gets into the wrong house. When the owner Mark Collins comes home, he finds his pregnant wife unconscious in the kitchen, his friend dead in the living room and his son kidnapped. The police officer wants Luca to believe he has the real witness' son and sends Collins into prison. But he manages to escape and takes things into his own hands. Written by
Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>
Familiar territory for William Lustig, but he treads it well
William Lustig certainly knows how to direct a gritty city based thriller; he succeeded admirably with the fantastically entertaining Maniac Cop series, and while Hit List isn't quite as memorable - it's still more than entertaining enough, and I'm sure any fan of Lustig's work won't regret tracking it down. It's slightly more serious overall than the majority of the rest of Lustig's filmography, although the director still manages to find time for some humour, and while the action isn't exactly groundbreaking - the film is, at least, not boring for a minute. The basis for the plot focuses on Vic Luca; a big-mouthed mob boss who is set to appear in court for his crimes. However, given his powers as the head of a criminal organisation, it's not difficult for him to track down and kill all the witnesses; much to the dismay of hard-bitten cop Tom Mitchum, who wants to see Luca rot in jail. The plot thickens when Luca's assassin Chris Caleek goes to kill witness Frank DeSalvo and ends up getting the wrong house, and kidnapping ordinary man Jack Collins' son...
William Lustig has put together a good cast for this film, with the likes of Lance Henriksen standing out the most and getting good support from memorable actors such as Charles Napier, Rip Torn, Jan-Michael Vincent and Leo Rossi. As he showed with the Maniac Cop films, Lustig certainly has an eye for atmosphere and this film revels in the same gritty urban feel as the earlier films did. I've got to say that I'm surprised this film isn't better known really; it may not have quite the same appeal that Maniac Cop did, but it's great fun and makes for easy viewing. The characters are all drawn in an intriguing manner, as no two are similar and thanks to the cast of character actors - all manage to be memorable in their own right. The film obviously had budget constraints as there's not a great deal of action sequences, and the ones that do feature aren't exactly over the top; but Lustig makes good use of his assets, and Hit List could have been a lot worse. It all boils down to a conclusion that isn't hard to see coming, but its good fun getting there and overall, I won't hesitate to recommend this film to anyone who can find it.
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