What’s red, black, and white all over that completely bombed in 2007? Yup, that would be Hitman. It’s been eight years since the cluster fuck that took America by “who cares” storm and Hollywood is determined to make you forget about the first installment by rebooting the series!
This time around, Hollywood commissioned a screenwriter (Michael Finch) and director (Aleksander Bach) who actually played the Hitman series before making the movie and as a result, it’s watchable.
Taking the helm as the silent but deadly Agent 47 assassin is Rupert Friend, a bad ass with a smile. This Superman of sorts was genetically modified as a child to be one of the best “Molly, your life is in danger girl” assassins, equipped with intelligence, speed and the ability to kill you with a single hair.
We join 47 in the throes of trying to stop an organization run by Le Clerq (because the French are always evil) from restarting the Agent program…this time with upgrades! However, this time around things are not that simple. In order to complete the job, they would need Dr. Litvenko, but due to everyone unable to find him, they go after his daughter hoping she knows his whereabouts…because some family members like to talk to each other.
Hitman: Agent 47’s plot is a glorious mess of “What?” Honestly, the quickest way to commit suicide is trying to understand this movie. It’s best to not think because absolutely nothing makes any damn sense. To truly enjoy what this movie is, is to practice the “be silent, be still” motto: turn your brain off, don’t question, and open your eyes. Despite the confusing plot, the movie works best by keeping the audience on its toes; not knowing who the bad guy truly is.
When you open those eyes you will take pleasure in knowing that the stale Timothy Olyphant presence has been wiped clean from this adaptation; this time replaced with Rupert Friend who fits the role like a Michael Jackson glove. Friend, who not only looks the part, is able to capture the essence of Agent 47: focused, driven, on a mission, but when you’re not looking, there are moments of isolation and vulnerability. Unlike Olyphant, Friend effortlessly balances between the two, knowing when a smile or chuckle needs to be delivered.
The movie is held together by the action sequences. Beautifully filmed, each fight scene is choreographed like a sleek ballet; flying jackets and operatic music are a must. Unlike the action in the Fast in the Furious series, Hitman is grounded in non-reality reality and without the bravado flair of cars literally flying out of windows to jump across buildings, it adds to the satisfaction of each kill.
Unfortunately, there are these small moments when CGI runs amok and creates a “how did this get approved?” scenarios. In these tiny blips, fight sequences look like two robots are going at it and stunt doubles faces can be seen all willy-nilly. Luckily, these moments aren’t everlasting and the editor knows the opportune time to cut away to something less distracting or obvious.
Despite this mishap, fans of the game will relish in the movie’s use of stealth which pays homage to the game. This, combined with environmental killing, creates an environmental stealth monster made for Friend. There is an entire scene dedicated to Agent 47 teaching Katia how to kill without being seen and how to use the environment to take down an entire room of agents. Just like a video game, she gets better with practice, learning which combinations are suitable in certain environments.
Hitman himself is a master at this, demonstrating his ability to kill an entire team in the stairwell without getting a single drop of blood on himself, or the infamous fiber wire he uses to strangle the life out of someone. This is rewarding and fans of the franchise will take pleasure in the small moments when Friend mimics poses and gestures found in the game, just before killing someone.
Hannah Ware stars as Katia, is simply delightful as she plays off Friend’s fight moves, becoming the peanut butter to Friend’s jelly. Her character does get annoying at times as a frantic on-the-run case of mental instability trying to uncover her true identity. This is all forgotten during the fight sequences and when her monologues are shortened, which tries its best to make you forget any faults when she’s balancing on wires, going toe-to-toe with those who are after them.
Zachary Quinto rounds out the cast as John Smith, a man who we really know nothing about. Aside from multiple fight scenes and impressive stalking abilities, his role is kind of laughable, but once again, falls perfectly into the ridiculous nature of the movie. He does a decent job with keeping the audience on its toes, not knowing whether to trust him but you can’t help but to fall for his caring nature.
Hitman: Agent 47 is a semi-perfect summer movie. Balanced, casual and sexy, it is one of the best video game adaptions we’re going to get. Despite the confusing plotline, the stunts and the runtime are on point, giving fans the right amount of fun before it begins to drag. Die-hard fans may take issue with the movie, but for those who are more forgiving, this is rather pleasurable…until Assassin’s Creed is released.