Hitman: Agent 47 Review

I’ve only properly played one Hitman game in my gaming life, and that was covered with the previous film earlier in this marathon, so consider this a “bonus” review with no game review alongside it! The original Hitman film turned a game about stealth, infiltration and assassination and swiftly turned it into an average action film, so what does this reboot do differently? They add in super-powers and up the action to crazy extremes, properly flying in the face of what the games are… hooray! Taking the mistake and making it worse! Oh well, let’s take a look and see if it stands on its own away from the game comparisons, shall we?

Synopsis:

47 is an “agent”, a genetically enhanced supersoldier created decades ago by Doctor Petr Litvenko, a skilled Ukrainian geneticist who had a crisis of conscience and disappeared before the Agent project’s completion, leaving behind his daughter Katia. 47 works as a hitman for the ICA (International Contracts Agency) and has spent the last few years tracking down Katia as a means to find her father…

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

The Good:

Hey look! It’s Agent 47! You can tell because of the red tie… and the barcode on the back of his head, but that’s not showing at the moment…

Hmm… As an action film it could be a lot worse, which I know is very faint praise, but still. It’s very plain, nothing about how its shot or the action set pieces will make you take notice, but nothing will make you groan because it’s so bad. I literally sat and watched this film and the time went by without me checking what time it was, which means I wasn’t bored, but at the same time I never felt excited, I never leaned forward in anticipation because I was so invested. Why is this in the “Good” section? I guess this marathon has given me a lot of crap films, so something that’s just decent is something I want to praise…

The same can be said for the acting in the lead roles. Rupert Friend as Agent 47 was fine, he’s playing what is pretty much a cold and emotionless killer so it doesn’t involve much range to be fair, and he looks the part in being a bald man in a suit with a red tie, so… Yeah. Zachary Quinto is again perfectly fine as a spy/agent John Smith that’s been tasked with the same job as Agent 47 and wishes to prove himself better than the infamous assassin, but then Quinto came to fame as a villain in Heroes (remember that?) so it’s not a big shocker he works here, although given that his original intro in the film is as a “good guy” I didn’t really buy it…

Finally Hannah Ware as Katia van Dees is … good enough in the role of fish out of water loner who suddenly finds out she’s a genetically enhanced killer. Again she won’t blow you away with her nuanced performance, but it’s fine (God I’m using the word “fine” a lot. I guess I’m trying hard not to completely shit on the film…) Some of the action set pieces are good, a fight in a subway (the underground place with trains, not the shop) a showdown in an embassy was really good until a cheesy slow-motion sequence, a hand-to-hand fight against multiple people in a hotel room was great, and the finale shootout was… good, if not a tad basic, so there were some highlights… Some!

The Bad:

Look out! She has magic powers, apparently…

Frankly, while I skirted around the fact that some of the acting is perfectly…”FINE”, the film as a whole is pretty meh. As mentioned Katia van Dees is actually Agent 90 (quatre-vingt-dix, see? Hoho!) but she doesn’t know that, even though she has the super power to sense people and danger before it happens. Agent 47 is soon on her tale, as is John Smith from a rival agency called The Syndicate. Smith tries to pretend he’s the good guy saving Katia from a Terminator-like killing machine, but obviously the roles are soon switched. 47 and Katia eventually track down her father Piotr Litvenko (Ciarán Hinds), the man who created all the Agents and the man who the Syndicate wants in order to restart the Agent program, and they have a bit of a shootout (and a bizarre moment where Agent 47’s car is harpooned in the middle of the street by a bunch of masked agents who they ride the wires down to him… Couldn’t they have just shot at him from the roof?) and Litvenko is captured.

This leads to an assault on the Syndicate HQ and for Katia to “unleash” her powers more. Agent 47 out-fights John Smith (who for the record had bulletproof metal put under his skin giving him near-invincibility…) and then then electrocutes (the danger of previous mentioned metal underskin), then eventually the Syndicate head, a man who multiple agents had been killed trying to stop, is killed by 47’s unspoken plan with Litvenko to detonate the Helicopter he was on with the leader in it. It’s revealed that Katia was a side-target of 47 and his actual mission was to kill the head of the Syndicate, so his mission was accomplished (though he let Katia go). Katia and 47 then face down with Agent 48 (who looks just like 47) before a mid-credits tease where we see John Smith with weird eyes, white hair and pale skin wake up, presumably now with electro-powers or something, but we’ll never know because this film bombed.

Wires, duel-wielding guns in the middle of the city in broad daylight… this is not what makes a good Hitman!

So, as a sci-fi slanted action film, it’s not too bad. Very generic, a little silly and nothing about the directing or action will either amaze or annoy. Sadly as a Hitman film it’s awful, with super-powers and crazy illogical action set pieces and practically no hitman-ing and only one or two scenes of using a disguise to sneak around. What’s amazing to me out of all of this is that the film is co-wrote by the man who wrote the original Hitman screenplay… Why on Earth did they do that?! It even follows the same “heartless hitman cares for a valuable girl” cliché, even if the end results are a bit different this time, with the whole super-powers thing…

Overall Thoughts:

Most of the screenshots featuring Zachary Quinto have watermarks all over them, so here’s a screen of him being punched in the face. Enjoy!

Hitman: Agent 47 takes the mistakes of the original film and thinks in order to fix them they need to go all the way through with the action and add in super powers to boot, rather than scale things down to match the games. Hell, an action heavy film is fine if it’s directed with more flair, even if it wouldn’t match the game series, but this is just a boring affair in terms of action and acting. It’ll pass some time, but there are far better ways to spend an hour and a half, hell I’m pretty sure I’d prefer the original film, frankly…

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