Hitman: Agent 47, based on the Hitman video game series, is lacklustre to say the least
Hollywood has had massive success with the adaptation of books and graphic novels, but film-makers haven’t been as lucky with movies inspired by video games. Many efforts have been made to transform popular games into big-screen franchises, but few have been notably rewarding, financially. Fewer still have received critical appreciation which has remained largely elusive for this genre. Sadly, the new Hitman film also fails to satisfy or entertain its viewers, and leaves them wondering why the franchise was resurrected for this instalment in particular.
Hitman: Agent 47, a reboot of the series, sees Rupert Friend take on the role of the titular protagonist that was portrayed by Timothy Olyphant in the 2007 original. Director Aleksander Bach helms the project, while Skip Woods, the writer of the previous film, returns as one of the scribes, co-writing the screenplay with Michael Finch.
The premise revolves around the search for geneticist Peter Litvenko (Ciarán Hinds), the man behind a bioengineering programme designed to create the perfect killing machine — human beings without any emotions, be it fear, remorse or even love. Various entities with motives partially unclear are trying to find out his whereabouts. These include the assassin Agent 47 (Rupert Friend), a man known as John Smith (Zachary Quinto) who works for the Syndicate International Corporation and a woman with enhanced survival skills called Katia (Hannah Ware), who tirelessly tries to find the scientist although she doesn’t remember him or any links she has with him.
Amidst the cat and mouse chase, the movie loses any sense of logic or coherence. The protagonist is significantly more trigger-happy than his Xbox counterpart, and instead of a clever plot spun with stealth and creativity, Hitman: Agent 47 turns into yet another mindless action movie. Shoot-outs, fight sequences, and car chases take over the proceedings, and no attempts are made to explore the underlying themes and issues with any depth. There isn’t much its cast can do being stuck in a plot that is so inane. As for the twists and reveals, the film makes sure you see them coming a mile away.
Hitman: Agent 47 can occasionally be borderline fun, but only if you switch off your brain. There are significantly better action thrillers out there, so ultimately there aren’t many reasons to bother with this movie. It’s about time film-makers realise that if they want game franchises to make a successful leap to the big screen, they need to be creative and come up with something more interesting than mindless violence and fast-paced action.
Published in The Express Tribune, Sunday Magazine, October 4th, 2015.