Hitman: Agent47 - 96 min - R
As much as I love video games, I have been burned by how bad a video game translates to the screen. There have been way too many misses to justify the few hits. This movie falls in that middle ground. Not good enough to be a hit but better than many of the video game movies I've seen. The first time director, Aleksander Bach, steps onto the scene with power and excellent skills, all be it rough around the edges. He could evolve into the next Luc Besson given more time to develop. They definitely took great care in making sure the story matches the spirit of the game. At least he hasn't followed in the footsteps of other directors who have taken a dump on video game moves..Koff.. Uwe Boll, Koff, koff.
Katia (HannahWare) is a woman trying to find answers about her past. She has remembers a man, but nothing else. An agent is after her, a genetically engineered killing machine with no emotion or motivation other than to complete his mission. The Agent, who is numbered 47 (Rupert Friend) will stop at nothing at getting to her. A man named John Smith (Zachary Quinto) is trying to help Katia but in this movie nothing is as it seems. This is an extremely hard balancing act to pull off. Everyone is a mystery we are just as lost as the characters to start off.
Keeping the audience in the dark about the who is a good guy or a bad guy is a good hook but you can’t maintain it for too long. When the audience doesn't have anyone they know going into the second act you've lost any chance at getting the audience to root for them.
As a first major film for the director it’s really decent performance. It has just the right amount of action and the supernatural abilities of the main character to make it feel like you are watching great player play the game. The timed cause and effect special attacks and general fighting are fun to watch. The acting is monotone. Agent 47 is not designed to have any emotions so it makes sense he would be toned down when delivering lines. There are a few spots he lets a little life into the delivery but only the briefest of moments. The lines are also very binary. What I mean is one person says something and the other person responds. There is no interplay with the dialog. It would be nice to see the effect of what’s being said on the face of one of the characters.
The scenes in-between the fighting are amateurish. There are little to no depth or construction to the in-between shots they seem to be there only to pass the time until we can get back to the action. The CGI is applied with a heavy hand in some scenes. There was one scene where the Agent and Mr. Smith are falling into a moving train and then fall to the track below. Very heavy CGI effect takes me right out of the movie and wonder if they should have perhaps done better or cut the scene all together.
This is the second attempt at making the Hitman series a hit. The first attempt at a movie from this video game franchise in 2007 was a critical disappointment and this one isn't doing much better. I have begun to wonder if this is just not meant to be made into a movie. If they do want to do this right, (I know I am going to get heck for saying this), they need an origin story. Hear me out. What this movie is missing is an emotional connection to the character. He is a tin man who excels at killing folks. The audience needs to be invested in the character’s progress. This movie doesn't give us this.
There was also no doubt the good guys would win. They had absolutely no consequences or risk in the fights they were having. In the end, this movie is nothing more than violent eye candy. That's fine and sometimes really hard to do. Now they need to make sure they can balance out with more story.