Hitman: Agent 47 Review

Hitman: Agent 47 Review

A popular stealth video game franchise, Hitman is Danish-produced and enables players to take on the role of a cloned and bald assassin who has a barcode stamped on the back of his head. Back in 2007, a French-American co-production led to the first movie production of the game in which Timothy Olyphant took on the role of Hitman. The movie was a moderate hit globally, but wasn’t successful or compelling enough to deserve a sequel. Instead, they have chosen to do the movie over completely in the form of Hitman: Agent 47 and with German money, adding a more clinical tone and a different star. The video game assassin played by Rupert Friend almost makes The Terminator look cuddly.

There is one oddly overlapping point; Skip Woods has been credited with the screenplay and story of Hitman: Agent 47 and he also did the earlier film. It is routine for writers-for-hire to tear up their scripts and begin from scratch, but it is even rare to have a script made and then pretending it didn’t happen. Just like the main character the story revolves around, Woods has a job that you wouldn’t want to add your name to: if the hit goes according to plan, you just want to stay unnoticed and slick off instead of stepping into the limelight.

With the story being wiped clean so far, we are thrown into an action scene in Salzburg where the nameless agent played by Friend is going head to head with elements of a dastardly global outfit. A man named Le Clerq heads this corporation and is played by a German version of Liam Neeson, Thomas Kretschmann, while sitting behind a horde of touch-screen remote controls. You wouldn’t fancy your chances with this unsmiling entity who does a lot of left-swiping for terminating contact with his underlings.

Moving on to Berlin, a hit has been taken out against our mysterious leading lady Katie Van Dees played by Hannah Ware. A guy called John Smith played by Zachary Quinto claims to be protecting her from the cold-blooded Friend. This is before he admits, in one of the very few humorous attempts the film permits itself, that his actual name is Brian. The movie is as ruthlessly competent as a BMW that’s just fresh off the line. Aleksander Bach, commercials director, deals with the action with as much mechanical efficiently and strobe lighting possible.

The problem with the movie is that it lacks soul, excitement and is basically an asexual genre flick. Olyphant exerted himself a bit, but it seems that Friend’s instructions included ignoring human and Android alike. He moves impassively through the movie and delivers stock deaths to his opponents. On every front, the movie makes you miss the moral conscience and interesting loneliness of the Bourne series, Supremacy in particular. These films considered the costs, counted their losses and gave some thought to conscience. Hitman: Agent 47, on the other hand, is about perfectly aimed bullets that move through the blood and ricochet off nothing.

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