Hitman (2007)

Hitman (2007)

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The barber had gone a step too far...
The barber had gone a step too far…

Twitter Plot Summary: Agent 47 finds himself embroiled in a political conspiracy. Based on the video game series.

Genre: Action/Crime/Drama/Thriller

Director: Xavier Gens

Key Cast: Timothy Olyphant, Dougray Scott, Olga Kurylenko, Robert Knepper, Ulrich Thomsen, Henry Ian Cusick

Five Point Summary:

1.That’s a very security conscious guy, right there.
2. Obligatory nod towards the video game…
3. Obligatory gunplay with Desmond from Lost…
4. Ooh, a rubber duck!
5. And we’re back at the beginning of the film. How droll.

You should know the score by now – movies based on video games are, on the whole, inherently bad. Not so the case with Hitman, which isn’t an instant classic of cinema but can instead be labelled as “sufficient.” The story is essentially your typical action movie plot – Interpol and the Russian police/secret service are after Agent 47, who himself is embroiled in a plot that sees him set up for the apparent murder (or not) of the Russian Prime Minister. 47’s attempts to get to the bottom of this plot are also impeded by the presence of Olga Kurylenko’s Nika, another target for The Organization (those responsible for creating Agent 47).

Elements such as the gratuitous nudity of Olga Kurylenko, whilst not entirely unwelcome (for obvious reasons…), only serve a purpose in emphasising how Agent 47 isn’t like every other action hero out there. Namely, that he’s not tempted by the sins of the flesh. There’s also a distinct lack of background with regards to The Organization and why they created Agent 47 and his fellow bald headed assassins, instead following a similar approach to the games and just throwing you in at the deep end. There’s a mysterious group out there that breed super assassins, now let’s move along. I’m also not sold on Timothy Olyphant as Agent 47. He’s a good actor, but I’m not sure he works as this particular character. There’s something missing there that I can’t quite place. If nothing else he is at least competent in portraying the inner turmoil of the character. The character of Niki doesn’t have much in the way of purpose, and all things considered I would have rather seen more of the interaction between Dougray Scott and Michael Offei, as their banter and style of delivery adds some levity to proceedings.

The Highlander Fan Club was clearly starting to show their age.
The Highlander Fan Club was clearly starting to show their age.

Despite these negative aspects, there’s also a lot to like. It’s unashamedly bloody and violent (although that may have been more to do with it being the Extreme cut rather than the no doubt tamer cinematic release), although this violence is rarely gratuitous for the sake of it. No, rather it’s set at an appropriate level alongside the source material, which is to be commended. Agent 47 gets several opportunities to show off the same skills he uses in the game – subterfuge, assassination techniques and good old fashioned gunplay. It’s perhaps less subtle than the source material in this respect, as more often than not events degrade into a gun fight or, at one point, a sword fight on a train. There’s also crowd-pleasing appearances by Robert Knepper and Henry Ian Cusick – fans of Prison Break and Lost are well catered for in this regard.

We’re all acutely aware of the movie graveyard that is video game adaptations (Street Fighter or Super Mario Bros, anyone?), but perhaps wisely the team behind the Hitman adaptation decided to not speak down to its audience and also, contrastingly, not try and elevate it above what it is – an entertaining action story involving a bald assassin. That’s a win in my book.

Favourite scene: The four way assassin fight. Very nicely choreographed.

Quote: “Eat your sandwich. I need to get some sleep.”

Silly Moment:  The gunfight with Desmond from Lost.

Score: 3/5

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