The Austin Chronicle

The Hitman

Not rated, 103 min. Directed by Aaron Norris. Starring Chuck Norris, Michael Parks, Al Waxman, Alberta Watson, Salim Grant, Ken Pogue.

REVIEWED By Steve Davis, Fri., Nov. 1, 1991

Chuck Norris looks tired in The Hitman, his first movie in a few years. Maybe it's the shag toupee that fits like one of those caps soldiers wear in the French Foreign Legion. Maybe it's the basset-hound bags under his eyes. Or maybe it's the stone-faced expression that's looking more and more like Mt. Rushmore. Whatever the reason, Norris has seen better days. Once the master of movie martial arts, Norris has seen his star eclipsed by up-and-comers like Jean-Claude Van Damme and Steven Seagal during the past few years. In The Hitman, Norris is a man of action who uses guns to dispense justice rather than a good swift kick to the solar plexus. (You know that Norris must be feeling his age when the big martial arts fight in the movie is between a couple of 11-year-olds.) The setting is the Pacific Northwest, the bad guys are a melting pot of ruthless drug-dealers, and the violence is an orgy of semi-automatic proportions. Predictably enough, no one's left alive by the film's end except for Norris. (Given his acting range, that would be a debatable point but for the fact that his eyes are open and he's walking.) If The Hitman marks a new direction for an older and less physical Norris, so be it. But somebody needs to wake the guy up the next time he makes a movie.

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