Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Last Hit Man

In The Last Hit Man, Joe Mantegna gets the chance to show off his considerable acting range. He portrays an ultra-professional hit man who finds out he’s dying after the impossible happens to him, one of his hits goes wrong. His character struggles about whether or not to tell his daughter, played by Elizabeth Whitmere, who drives him to his assignments, knowing full well what his business is. Complicating matters is the appearance of a younger hit man, portrayed by Romano Orzari, who wants to learn as much as possible from Mantegna’s character -- after flubbing a very different assignment of his own.

I think this movie, shot in Canada in only 15 days, contains one of Mantegna’s best performances. Cold and calculating in some scenes, he then changes into a caring father or a helpful mentor in others -- and I believed every bit of it. Mantegna tosses off humorous, wry dialogue as only he can -- which he probably learned from appearing in so many wonderful David Mamet plays. More a character study than the action-packed movie promised in some PR for the film The Last Hit Man is a must-see for Mantegna fans. Fortunately, it’s available now on DVD.

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