Direct Hit (Video 1994) Poster

(1994 Video)

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Direct Miss
movieman_kev5 November 2003
Jo Champa overacts, what with her constant blubbering, while William Forsythe underacts, what with his hoarse whisper talk, creepy looks & what not, in this by-the-numbers action flick about a hit-man who has a change of heart & protects the woman whom he was supposed to kill. He then has to protect her from other hitmen. Forsythe as an action hero is NO Brian Bosworth, he's no Don 'the Dragon' Wilson, hell he isn't even a Brick Bronsky!!

My Grade: D

Where i saw it: TMC Extra
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This is prime 1994 video store material.
tarbosh2200014 December 2014
Warning: Spoilers
John Hatch (Forsythe) has had a long and storied career as a hit-man (alternately called a "triggerman" or a "fingerman" by his associates) but is tired of the game and wants to retire. Unfortunately for him, his boss James Tronson (Segal) won't allow it, cajoling him into the famous "One Last Job". Hatch still is against the idea, because the target, a woman named Savannah (Champa), is innocent and has a young daughter to support. When Tronson hires rival fingerman Rogers (Norton) to complete the hit, Hatch enters the life saving business and protects Savannah and her daughter from the onslaught of their enemies. Seeing in Savannah his redemption from a life of killing and murder, Hatch vows to protect her at all costs - perhaps even his own life. Will it come to that? Find out today! Direct Hit is standard-issue PM, but with a few quirks that make it stand out. Mainly it's William Forsythe, finally in a starring role, who is the main focus. He is cool, tough, menacing, believable, and has an awesome voice. He's an ideal choice for the role of a hit-man with a heart of gold. George Segal chomps his cigar with aplomb, and we also thought veteran star of stage and screen Jerry Springer also could have played that role. Their voices are very similar. Fan favorite Richard Norton is of course here too - we always love seeing him, but in this role he doesn't get to display his Martial Arts skill. Perhaps he was trying to branch out and show he could act without kicking various and sundry goons in the face. Luckily, the movie is largely well-acted and has a downbeat sort of feel to it, which adds to the overall vibe.

Some classic DTV action items are on display once again: the Prerequisite Torture of the hero, and the all-time classic "One Last Job". Indeed, this whole movie revolves around the OLJ scenario. They even could have called the movie One Last Job, but the title Direct Hit is actually pretty clever because it contains a double meaning. Because this is, after all, a PM, it has plenty of gunplay, explosions, car chases/wrecks, and the time-honored "car blowing up in the middle of the street for barely any reason but thank goodness they're doing it again" stunt. But it's leavened with drama, the best scenes of which are the ones between Hatch and his father, which are actually effective.

While there are a few lulls during the course of Direct Hit, let's not forget this is prime 1994 video store material: it has the seemingly-ubiquitous goons with ponytails and suits with colorful ties, and the casual racism you could never get away with today. It's easy to see this sitting on the shelf of your local video store, vying for rental among its more popular competitors. But despite the aforementioned lulls, Direct Hit is an enjoyable action drama, largely due to Forsythe.
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Straight to video action hokum
Leofwine_draca16 September 2017
Warning: Spoilers
PM Entertainment were notorious for churning out low rent action flicks in the 1990s and DIRECT HIT is a very typical example of their output. It's a watchable but completely forgettable little thriller in which a hit-man is assigned one last job, to take out a female witness. He's unable to do so and ends up going up against his old employers in a violent struggle to the death. This is a dark and violent production full of bloody squib hits and little in the way of the big explosive action so beloved by the PM Entertainment producers.

What makes it interesting is the casting. William Forsythe is best known for playing heavies in everything from OUT FOR JUSTICE to BOARDWALK EMPIRE, so it's interesting to see him playing the sleazy protagonist here. He's pretty good, though, and as always much more frightening than the rest of the bad guys in the cast. The supporting cast is engaging with turns for Juliet Landau, the great martial artist Richard Norton (unfortunately wasted), and old-timer George Segal. It's hardly highbrow entertainment, but it passes the time.
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rsoonsa5 November 2003
Most of what comes about during this action melodrama is precisely what must be expected, given the rather ordinary pedigrees of those responsible, in a narrative of John Hatch (William Forsythe), an assassin for the CIA whose activities unaccountably seem to be confined to stateside assignments. Presumably recognizing after a lengthy career that his original aspirations for patriotic service have been mislayed due to the callous aspects of his occupation, Hatch has determined that he will retire from the life of a "hit man". Compelled by CIA chieftain James Tronson (George Segal) to implement one last murder more than he desires, Hatch stalks his designated target: Savannah (Jo Champa) who purportedly is blackmailing a public figure, a former CIA director who is campaigning for a position of U.S. Senator. Having had the precepts he once believed in buried by the nature of his activities Hatch decides, in an attempt to partially redeem himself, not to complete his obligation but instead protects Savannah from the Agency after discovering that she is a victim of governmental deception and not an extortioner. Forsythe, a true original, performs his role as well as he can under the circumstances, and with his wonted low-key manner, here marked with a more than usual emphasis upon throatily aspirating his lines. He can, however, be heard and understood, a condition not consistently achieved in this production wherein the dubbing is often misaligned and the editing is uneven, manifest despite all of the violent proceedings. The script is nearly totally nonsensical as Forsythe, whose physique resembles an outhouse, magically evades hundreds of rounds fired directly at him by CIA operatives and others, while finding the time to demonstrate his need for a new plan of living by bedding rangy and sensuous Savannah in a mild scene (he is thankfully not in the buff) composed more of nuzzling and nibbling than the customary thrashing about - his cinematic force rests in his quietly ominous demeanor, not often tinged with a stripe of vulnerability.
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Not a Hit
warrenf_peace8 December 2007
I wish Hollywood producers would remember "If it ain't on the page, it ain't on the stage," and for DIrect HIt, not only was it not on the page, it wasn't in the mind, either. Forsythe is a good character actor, but in his chance at a leading man role, I think the pot belly ruins it for him. Clearly, he's no Jason Bourne, but for 1994, one can see some ideas that could have influenced both the Bourne and Matrix films. Jo Champa plays doey-eyed bimbo Savannah, and the director must have been sleeping with her, considering how much screen time she gets. The best line is:

Savannah: "You're a psychopath!" Daniels: "That's why I'm running for office."

The writing goes downhill from there. George Segal will do anything for a cigar as he plays the same talentless dick he plays in every movie he's ever made. If you are in a coma on a Saturday morning, and you see this for free, why not waste 90 minutes of your life in this stinker, just to see how not to make a movie. Actually, the coma would be time better spent.
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