On May 21, 1999, All My Children star Susan Lucci finally won a Daytime Emmy. This came after a hilarious 18-year losing streak which probably gave Lucci more mainstream fame than any of the women who actually won the award. But we’re happy Susan won that Emmy, cause from the looks of her 1992 movie Hit Woman: The Double Life, she ain’t gonna be winning an Oscar anytime soon.
Why is it “The Double Life”? I don’t know, exactly, but probably what they meant was that Susan Lucci is on the trail of… herself. But not really. Lucci plays Maggie Dutton, an FBI agent trying to track down a killer-for-hire, and Carmen Moore, the killer, and the only character who seems to notice that she and Maggie look exactly alike. Robert Urich plays Harry Carter, Maggie’s partner on the murder case, and wouldn’t you know it, they used to be married and they still have feelings for each other! (At this point you get three guesses as to what happens to Urich’s character and who’s responsible. The first two guesses don’t count.) Both of Lucci’s roles are pretty weak, with Carmen the cold-blooded killer coming off slightly more interesting than Maggie, the shyest, most awkward woman in the universe somehow being entrusted to protect the nation from trained snipers. Urich’s performance here would fall under the category of “phoning it in,” as the infomercial he did for a dental technology company right before he died is way more interesting than his character here.
Writer Joe Reb Moffly was apparently gunning for the record for most consecutive predictable movie cliches. Besides the “tension” between Maggie and Harry as they try to reconcile their professional and personal lives, we’ve also got the obligatory “It all started in my childhood” explanation for Lucci’s motivations, and of course, the climactic moment where the two Luccis face off, declare that they’re really very much alike even though they’re not, and fight to the death even though they now have a bond. I guess I’m glad that one of the Susan Luccis didn’t confess that she was the other Lucci’s mother, or sister, or clone, but just about every other hallmark of bad writing made it into the plot. Not that any of it makes sense. The storyline tumbles more than it twists, and it’s likely that an average viewer, even on a B-Movie night, would fall asleep before the big finale, which isn’t even that big anyway. I think one of our screeners balanced his checkbook while we watched, and he didn’t miss anything.
The only positive thing I can say about this movie is that it doesn’t pretend to be anything other than mediocre. There’s no ambition in here. Even the teaser line looks like it was thrown together at the last minute: “Each driven by an obsession to succeed, the perfectly matched competitors hurtle full-speed through a risky game of double-cross to an unexpected and deadly finish line.” While I have never known a risky game of double-cross to have a finish line, Hit Woman does end eventually, and that’s probably good enough.
A trivial note here: Hit Woman also features Wayne “Newman” Knight in the role of Tommy White, who I don’t remember being in the movie at all, so I’ll just have to take their word for it.