"Lesser Lester" Week Continues:
Only now does it occur to me... that Richard Donner's ASSASSINS (1995, starring Stallone, Banderas, and Julianne Moore) was apparently enough of a 'thing' to inspire some imitators––including Mark L. Lester's HITMAN'S RUN.
Banderas in ASSASSINS....
...and Eric Roberts in HITMAN'S RUN.
Mostly notable for an evocative scene where Eric Roberts kills a man in a phone booth by running him over with a wood-paneled station wagon,
HITMAN'S RUN follows the exploits a former mafia assassin (Roberts) in the witness protection program who comes out of hiding for one last adventure involving hackers, floppy disks, CD-ROMs, skateboarding kids, stylish haircuts, late 90s sweaters, and lite John Woo-style gunplay.
"Give a guy a gun, he thinks he's Superman. Give him two and he thinks he's God."
Other major highlights include the bizarre and possibly improvised interactions between Roberts and his new wife (who knows not of his hitman past). I mean, just look at this beautiful exchange:
Yes, it certainly does seem so much longer. But Roberts is doing a decent job, and I appreciate the extra effort his haircut is making.
Hey, look, it's C. Thomas Howell!
There's always a peculiar melancholy whenever I see C. Thomas outside of the 1980s... like I'm a distant relative who expected the worst, but when I see him, I squeeze his shoulder and say really sincerely, "Oh, I'm so glad to see you're doing okay." I feel like I should be sending him $25.00 checks for his birthday, is what I'm saying.
I also learned that a recordable CD has 650 megabytes of memory.
Er-–wait a second––who is that sweater-vest-wearin', faintly 90s subculture HACKERS émigré? I know him from somewhere... It's almost like I can see him, about to be paddled by a douchey Ben Affleck...
Yup, it's Esteban Powell, best known as Mitch's pal "Carl" from DAZED AND CONFUSED!
Not a lot has changed.
His major character trait in HITMAN'S RUN is that he says things like "Whoa-kay!" instead of "Okay," and I suppose that's fine.
In the end this is the kind of generic mafia flick that's sort of worth your time. It's certainly a "lesser" Lester––on the second-rate action scale, I'd put it somewhere between a Glickenhaus and a Pyun. Most of it will depend on your tolerance for the less-than-selective Eric Roberts (according to IMDb, he has THIRTY-SEVEN films coming out in 2016!), as apparently not everyone is on the Roberts bandwagon. I, conversely, am driving that bandwagon. I realize that some of the joy of Eric Roberts is how terrible many of his films are, but I still contend that the man himself is one of the finest actors of his generation (see RUNAWAY TRAIN and STAR 80 back-to-back if you don't believe me), and even amid the direct-to-video dreck, little shards of his talent keep piercing through.