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Hitman: Agent 47 Moves in Slow-Motion toward Forgettable

  • Christa Banister Contributing Writer
  • 2015 20 Aug
<i>Hitman: Agent 47</i> Moves in Slow-Motion toward Forgettable

DVD Release Date: December 29, 2015
Theatrical Release Date: August 21, 2015
Rating: R (for sequences of strong violence, and some language)
Genre: Thriller
Run Time: 96 min.
Director: Aleksander Bach
Cast: Rupert Friend, Hannah Ware, Zachary Quinto, Ciaran Hinds, Jerry Hoffmann, Dan Bakkedahl, Michaela Caspar, Angelababy

About as glaringly unfantastic as this month's uninspired reboot of The Fantastic Four, Hitman: Agent 47 serves as yet another example of a video game not exactly translating to the big screen in memorable fashion. Even worse, Hitman: Agent 47 is based on a video game that was already a pretty forgettable movie starring Timothy Olyphant back in 2007. Unsurprisingly, eight years removed, not much has changed.

Borrowing from all sorts of far better cinematic experiences, and not particularly well, Hitman: Agent 47 probably most closely resembles the Bourne franchise in terms of pure storytelling. What practically ensures that Agent 47 won't ever be mistaken for some of Matt Damon's best work, however, is the leaden script jam-packed with unintentionally funny dialogue and wooden characters you'll never think about again once the credits roll.

While it's hard to fault leading man Rupert Friend (The Young Victoria) when he's given so little to work with, he comes off about as charismatic as a sheet of typing paper—just one of the many reasons that Hitman: Agent 47 never finds its footing.

The story (just as in The Bourne Identity) centers around someone who doesn't know her name, let alone why she seems to possess a skill set that's not common to the majority of humans. Hoping to find answers by locating a mysterious man in a picture she carries with her everywhere, the soon-to-be christened Katia (Hannah Ware, Oldboy) is being watched closely by a couple of men who believe she holds the keys to her father's research (that old chestnut...).

SEE ALSO: Birdman: Overly Ambitious and Criminally Overrated

As it turns out, the man in the picture is Katia's father Litvenko (Ciaran Hinds, The Woman in Black), a brilliant scientist who created a superior breed of humans, super-assassins, to take care of problems that ordinary men and women struggle with because of our pesky tendencies to feel pain, remorse and worst of all, love. Naturally, it doesn't take long for Litvenko to realize that "playing God" was a big mistake. Worried about what might happen to his beloved daughter if these mutant mercenaries discover who she is, he disappears into oblivion, while she's perpetually on the run.

But even with Litvenko out of the picture, there are plenty of people interested in keeping the experiment going. After one of the best assassins, the smartly dressed Agent 47 (Friend), flees the very organization that created him, things go very wrong in a hurry. After the original organization is destroyed, a new corporation emerges to create a new army of trained killers, more evolved than the first. In order to succeed, though, this group needs to find out more about Litvenko’s work.

Trouble is, by the time we've arrived at this juncture in the story, Hitman: Agent 47 is already a bust because the screenwriters have forgotten to give the audience a reason to care. Perhaps sensing the potential restlessness of everyone watching, the filmmakers opted to get clever with how Agent 47 and his rival agent John Smith (Star Trek's Zachary Quinto, who gets the bulk of the bad lines) eliminate their targets (and, frankly, anyone else who happens to be in the way).

That's right, people die in all sorts of gruesome ways here, and for some reason, whoever choreographed the scenes must've only discovered slow-mo because every action sequence features the technique. It looks cool at first but wears out its welcome in a hurry. When Katia even pulls her long hair up into a ponytail in slow motion, well, you know everyone involved had officially run out of ideas.

SEE ALSO: Phoniness is on Trial in Fincher's Dark, Disturbing Gone Girl

It's that sheer lack of inspiration, plus no method to the storytelling madness, that make Hitman: Agent 47 impossible to recommend. While a larger takeaway isn't required for an action thriller to be worth seeing, the film should at least be a fun escape. But with so little style or substance, this one's about as enjoyable as watching someone else aimlessly shoot targets in a boring video game.

CAUTIONS (may contain spoilers):

  • Drugs/Alcohol: Some social drinking and pill popping.
  • Language/Profanity: A g-d, eight f-bombs and the occasional use of shi- and da-n.
  • Sex/Nudity: No sex or nudity. We see a woman in a bikini in one scene, and it’s clear in another that she’s not wearing a bra.
  • Violence: The body count is pretty high as people are shot, strangled, blown to bits and sent through a grinder. Others die in car accidents or by being knocked off their motorcycles.

Publication date: August 20, 2015

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