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Hitman: Agent 47

Platform(s): Movie
Genre: Action
Publisher: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: Aug. 21, 2015


Movie Review - 'Hitman: Agent 47'

by Adam Pavlacka on Aug. 21, 2015 @ 1:00 a.m. PDT

Hitman: Agent 47 is about an elite assassin who was genetically engineered to have unprecedented strength, speed, stamina and intelligence. His latest target is a corporation that plans to unlock the secret of Agent 47's past to create an army of killers.

As a video game series, the Hitman franchise has always been a success. The concept of a silent assassin who can easily blend in and kill targeted foes in creative ways is ripe with possibility. Unfortunately, the film adaptations have failed to live up to the franchise's potential, with both the 2007 version and this week's release being less than memorable.

The problem with "Hitman: Agent 47" is that it feels like director Aleksander Bach didn't know where he wanted to go with the film. The action sequences range from average to great, but they don't feel like they were properly integrated into the narrative. Instead of action driving the story forward, we're handed an action sequence, then a long break for story exposition (where little actually happens) and then another obligatory action bit. Unfortunately, the slow segments make up the majority of the film, resulting in a movie that feels a lot longer than it really is.

Exposition in and of itself isn't a bad thing, but the cardinal rule in movies is to "show, not tell," which is where "Hitman: Agent 47" fails. Watching characters talk about stuff isn't nearly as exciting as watching them do stuff, especially when the dialogue is as weak as it is here.

It's safe to say that the script for the most recent Hitman game was better than what we're given in "Hitman: Agent 47." Had Bach decided to go full on, over-the-top cheese, like Paul W. S. Anderson did for the "Mortal Kombat" and "Resident Evil" films, "Hitman: Agent 47" would've been better off for it. If you don't have a good script, sometimes it's best to simply embrace that fact and run with it.

Instead, Bach decided to play it serious. As a result, we're left with messy dialogue that is delivered with a straight face. The script also deviates quite a bit from what we've seen in the games, both in overall style and characterization, so it's not like the screenwriter was trying to stay true to the source material.

Out of all the actors in "Hitman: Agent 47," only Zachary Quinto stands out as far as performances are concerned. Playing the role of John Smith, Quinto impressively manages to deliver a solid character from the barest of script outlines. Smith is written as an enigma, and Quinto gives him depth. The same can't be said of either of the two leads, Rupert Friend (Agent 47) and Hannah Ware (Katia). Both turn in rather wooden performances, seemingly having been cast for their looks rather than their acting chops.

That point was driven home when I asked my screening partner what she thought of the film, and her two highlights were the film's primary car chase and the fact that "the bald guy was hot."

In the end, "Hitman: Agent 47" fails to impress because it succeeds at being generic. By ignoring the franchise lore and attempting to craft a generic action film, Bach missed the entire point of Agent 47. Instead of crafting a smart thriller, Bach managed to do the near impossible. He not only made Agent 47 one-dimensional; Bach also made him boring.

Score: 4.5/10

"Hitman: Agent 47" is rated R and has a running time of 1 hour and 36 minutes. It is showing in 2-D.

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