Games based on movies tend to be bad. Yet things work out better when they just influence one another. For a while, “Dead Space” was one of the best “Alien” video games. Similarly, “Crank” is a better “Grand Theft Auto” movie than any official adaptation could hope to be. Hong Kong action flicks, like “The Killer,” would influence the creation of the popular “Hitman” video game series. A few years later, the “Transporter” film series would swipe most of that game's visual aesthetic. Which meant, when an actual “Hitman” movie hit theaters in 2007, it already felt a bit warmed over. This didn't stop the film from becoming a decent commercial success.
A secret organization known only as the, um, Organization genetically engineers bald-headed, bar-coded boys to be the perfect assassins, training them from birth and giving them numbers instead of names. Agent 47 is the best of this distinguished lot. After a successful hit, his boss tells him to publicly assassinate the president of Russia, Mikhail Belicoff. After killing Belicoff, 47 is informed that he actually murdered a look-a-like. Soon, he's being pursued by his own Organization. Teaming up with Nika, Belicoff's abused mistress, he's determined to get to the bottom of things.
the Organization that created 47, why they turn on him, or how he feels about it. “Hitman” seems determined to appear vague and mysterious, quickly leaving the audience in the dust.
I've never played any of the “Hitman” video games and don't really have an opinion about them. Speaking as an uninformed outsider, Agent 47 seems to be such a beloved character because he's a graceful bad-ass, effortlessly exterminating his targets without remorse but in the most sensible fashion possible. The movie version seems to stray from this pattern. There's very little of the disguising, sneaking around, and stealthily disposing of victims I associate with the games. Timothy Olyphant, looking absolutely ridiculous with a shaved head, seems terminally miscast. (Olyphant was a last minute replacement for comfortably bald Vin Diesel.) His Agent 47 squints a lot, contemplating the nature of his business, and generally seeming very uncomfortable. Moreover, the entire plot of the movie hinges on this ruthless killer refusing to kill a woman. Why? Because her face tattoo reminds him of himself and that's pretty much it. Like I said, I've never played a “Hitman” game but falling in love with a girl just because she's pretty doesn't seem like the kind of thing Agent 47 would do.
“Hitman” was directed by Xavier Gens, right after his extreme French horror flick “Frontier(s)” received some mild hype. Gens was probably chosen because of the visual flashiness he displayed in his debut. Compared to some of the wretched action movies I've watched this month, “Hitman” doesn't look too bad. At least you can mostly follow the shoot-outs and sword fights. Yet they feel seriously uninspired. A shoot-out with a weapons' dealer or the final showdown in an old church features lots of high-intensity shots of machine guns firing. There's nothing much interesting about it, the shoot-outs quickly fading into each other. The only scene that really stands out is a lightly ridiculous sword-fight on a train with other agents. It's a very dumb moment – the agents deciding a sword fight would be easier instead of just shooting each other – but at least there's some panache there. The rest of the film's violence is competent but boring, lacking identity.
a decent commercial success, grossing about 100 million against a 22 million dollar budget. The film seemed primed to launch a series, considering the many unexplored plot points introduced here. Yet a sequel would never quite gain traction. Timothy Olyphant admitted he only made this film because he needed the money, so obviously he wouldn't return for a sequel. Despite having a script for a part two ready to go, a reboot would be greenlit instead. “Hitman: Agent 47,” starring someone named Rupert Friend, came out in 2015 to okay box office but general public indifference. Meanwhile, the public has seen a hundred other movies about cool bald dudes in suits killing guys, so maybe the market is just saturated. [5/10]