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My Hero the Hitman is a unique look at Shane Stant. One of the most infamous moments of the 1990s was the attack on Nancy Kerrigan. The event was the subject of news coverage and spoofs and is still a part of the media landscape today. Stant would eventually be found guilty of the assault. At the time, his sister Maile was two years old. The documentary examines how she tries to reconcile the brother she has always known with the person everyone else knows him as.
The title sounds like a dark comedy or metaphor. Instead, writer-director Justin Kawika Young plays everything straight. The film is not mean to be funny and there is no deeper meaning in the name. My Hero the Hitman is literal. All of Maile’s life, her brother was there to protect her. This includes keeping her safe from her abusive father. Yes, the world knew him as the man who hit Kerrigan with a pipe, but to his sister, he was a hero.
It is an interesting and bold direction to take. As controversial as the incident was in 1994, it was not one that was clouded with doubt. Stant was clearly guilty and he was not misled into believing he was doing anything but what he did. Wisely, Young does not try to defend what happened. Instead, it is sets the foundation for the rest of the story. It is a about redemption and family bonds.
My Hero the Hitman strikes a good balance. This is Maile’s story about her brother, with whom she has positive interactions. It may seem strange to focus on the good side of someone who assaulted another person, but that is a running theme of the documentary. It does not go out to excuse Stant’s actions; it is just a look a part of his life that was never talked about.
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