Hitman: Agent 47 review
The trouble with any kind of adaptation into film is that they’re trying to take something that was perfectly suited for one medium and make it into something else. That’s not to say that it’s a bad idea, as many adaptation figure out what needs to change in order for a film representation to work. No one can tell an entire life story, so a biography needs to pick and choose which parts are important. A novel’s pacing needs to be sped up in order to feel like a journey we’re observing rather then reading about. So why are video games such a tough nut to crack?
The leading answer has to do with out main protagonist. At least in a biography or novel, we still have a fully established character that with the right actor can work in film format. A video game character may have some personality traits, but the idea is that YOU are the star. YOU’RE the one killing bad guys and saving the princess. Hitman is a prime example of an empty shell that you take control of rather then watch for one’s personal journey. After getting a film adaptation in 2009, Hitman: Agent 47 gets another shot at a cinematic adventure.
In the heart of the Ukraine, a secret lab has been set that takes children and alters their genes in order to make them the ultimate killing machines. Gone are pain and most emotion in place of enhanced fighting skills and gunmanship. They are without names, but numbers that are forever implanted with a barcode in the back of their heads.
One successful agent is 47 (played by Rupert Friend), who in in Berlin tracking a young woman. She is Katia Van Dees (played by Hannah Ware) who herself is looking for a man she remembers, but doesn’t even know who he is.
47 tracks her in Berlin where he prepares to encounter her. Just as he’s getting closer, a CIA agent John Smith (played by Zachary Quinto) find her first and gets her away from the hitman ala Terminator fashion. They try heading to the American embassy, but 47 gets inside and continues his hunt for the young woman. Just as Katia makes it to safety, she starts to sense uneasiness with John Smith and learns that 47 wants to keep her safe rather then kill her. He too has been looking for the same man and all traces lead to Singapore.
The idea of Hitman has some potential as a film series. None of that is visible in Hitman: Agent 47. I didn’t know what to expect as I’ve never played the games, barley remember the original movie, and am not even sure if there’s still an audience wanting a Hitman movie. I guess I got what I expected, which was a mindless, action-spy thriller of sorts. I just don’t know what Fox had in mind. Parts of the movie want to be a senseless, run and gun feature or an intriguing dive into the corruption of a mad scientist’s experiment.
Hitman: Agent 47 tries to meet halfway in the middle, coming out more like a Michael Bay film. I’ll give it credit for at least being short, but that still can be a drag given that none of the actors offer much. I can understand Rupert Friend not having emotion, but I was surprised by how bland everyone else came out. How do you make the same guy who gave Spok on Star Trek new life emptiness? By putting him in this movie. I wasn’t mad or even that disappointed with Hitman: Agent 47 as this film only exists to fill in future space on cable television rainy afternoons.
I’ll give this two barcode tattoos out of five. Had the story been more crazy or even had bad actors, I would have felt more ripped off, but at the most, the movie is simply bland. I’d say check it out if you’re a fan of the game, but most people will be scratching their heads wondering if this is still relevant.