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Hitman
Genre Action
Year: 2007
 
Review:

Hitman is a video game adaptation of the popular Hitman franchise, which has created something of a legend. This anti-hero is from the dark side, and the video game has cemented the dark side of James Bond. He has a license to kill, he has the gadgets and the undercover expertise. The only difference is that he doesn’t rely on cheesy one-liners and seducing beautiful women to get by. A hitman known as Agent 47 is hired by ‘The Agency’ to assasinate a political figure, only to be pursued by Interpol and the Russian military as he treks across Eastern Europe.

Timothy Olyphant dons the dark suit and red tie in the same iconic fashion as 47. He was cast as the title character for his physique and brooding eyes. Olyphant is a rising Hollywood star, and Hitman gives him the space to expand his range. This vehicle wasn’t intended to glamorise any particular elements, apart from its source material, although Olyphant is now Agent 47. This was a difficult video game adaptation, given that Agent 47 is a silent assassin and is primarily viewed from behind in the game. However, Xavier Gens was more concerned about creating a kick-ass action movie, before appeasing the fans.

Skip Woods creates a similar world to that of the Hitman game, and the story actually gets quite complicated with several factions after the elusive 47. The script does tend to get too self-involved, after all this is a video game adaptation, and Agent 47 talks too much. They also ignore the entire cloning back story, which could have amounted to some explosive Agent Smith-type action sequences. Thankfully, Gens has a good eye for action and the movie gets down and dirty quite quickly.

However, Hitman is flawed. The movie opens with the conclusion and as such two principal characters become invinicible. Without any threat of death, the action suffers from 47 being bulletproof. Video games heighten the gameplay by skating on thin ice, and knowing that 47 makes it through to the conclusion limits the return on the stunts and action. Another problem is that Agent 47 parades around like a god. He’s got a barcode tattoo on the back of his bald head, and this doesn’t seem to arouse any concern from the general public. Most people would be weary of this man’s presence let alone his distinguishing features. This wreckless identity parading ruined 47’s undercover agent status, and punctured the suspended reality.

To make matters worse, 47 decides to protect an attractive female companion. The sexual tension between the two was tangible, however this detracted from the cold, ruthless contract killer disposition. This was a direct influence from Luc Besson’s The Professional, as Jean Reno as Leon protects a young, vulnerable Natalie Portman. The storming of the apartment was another homage to Besson’s masterpiece, although Gens gave it enough of a spin to create something different.

Hitman also has a hint of The Jackal, with Dougray Scott (Ewan McGregor meets Clive Owen) filling in for Richard Gere. The Russian setting and assasination attempts have direct parallels with The Jackal. Hitman is basically an amalgamation of The Professional, The Jackal and the Hitman video games. The movie takes a while to set the scene, but shifts into overdrive as soon as the focus displaces the relationship between Agent 47 and Nika.

The bottom line: Half-decent.

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