HOLLYWOOD—I have to admit I was surprised by the Netflix film “Hit Man” starring Hollywood’s new leading man and star, Glen Powell. If you don’t know the name, he recently appeared in “Top Gun: Maverick” and starred alongside Sydney Sweeney in the romantic comedy “Anyone But You.” I would argue this is the first time Powell REALLY gets to carry a movie and he does a charming job as Gary. Gary is a psychology and philosophy professor in New Orleans.

He lives a pretty mundane life with his cats, and oh, I forget to mention he helps the local police department in operations to bust people trying to hire hitman to kill people. I must admit the movie DOES NOT do a great job trying to convince the audience that Gary is a nerdy professor. Putting glasses on a person, doesn’t automatically scream nerd people, and Gary’s looks don’t help that much either. However, Powell brings charisma to the character that makes him shine on the screen.

With that said, when one of the officers who moonlights as a hitman is suspended, Gary is suddenly thrown into this role of portraying the ‘hitman’ and it is amazing how quickly he picks it up with ease. It was almost like Gary aka Ron has been doing this for years, then again, he has been working with the local police department for a period of time with their sting operations.

It is almost like a light switch immediately cuts on for Gary as he tackles this new role and he is finding more enjoyment in his role than anyone could have expected. In particular, his colleagues Claudette (Retta) and Phil (Sanjay Rao). I was a bit disappointed with the underutilization of Retta who is a comedian and quite funny. Her character has a few laughs, but not as much as I had expected. Side note: if you’re expecting falling out of your movie seat laughs, you might want to look elsewhere.

This is more like a dark comedy and not a romantic action-comedy which the movie is being dubbed as. That is in part to Adria Arjona, Madison, who portrays the woman who captures Gary’s heart after she hires him to murder her abusive husband. Gary falls for Madison’s story and redirects her to a path to do something better with her life. That soon turns into a hidden romance where Gary is on cloud nine and finding himself more like ‘Ron’ his hitman persona versus his actual self.

I know it seems odd arguing that I actually learned something watching this movie, but it truly highlights this notion of how people ‘perceive’ us and how ‘we’ perceive ourselves and that drive to want to sometimes be someone that we’re not even if its for a minute, a day, a week, a month, hell a year if possible.

There were some interesting surprises in the film and the chemistry between Powell and Arjona is electric, and it absolutely works. Clocking in just under two hours, “Hit Man” made me think I was going to be watching another romantic comedy that tries so hard to be what it’s not, and I was given a few curveballs that were exciting to watch. The first 20 minutes of the movie is a bit slow, but once Gary becomes Ron it is a race to the finish-line and I was eager to see how it all culminated. The end result was satisfying and “Hit Man” proved to be what “The Fall Guy” tried to be.