The current state of action movies is a mixed and sordid affair. Sure, there are crowd pleasers like Mad Max: Fury Road and many of the Marvel superhero spectacles but there also exist action/adventure films that rely heavily on tired gimmicks, horrendous acting and equally terrible scripts. The latest shoot ‘em up Hitman: Agent 47 follows in this unfortunate train of Hollywood thought. It is violent, flashy and at many times, thinks it’s smarter than almost every other action romps that have come before it. Based on the Hitman video game series, Agent 47 is also a reboot of the 2007 Hitman film starring Timothy Olyphant. This, however, does not make matters any better.
Agent 47 (Rupert Friend) is a genetically modified assassin programmed to carry out top secret missions, killing high profile targets all over the world. When Agent 47 learns that an evil terrorist organization plans to use his DNA to create an army of powerful agents, he sets out to destroy said organization to prevent worldwide devastation. Along the way, he meets Katia (Hannah Ware), who has a few secrets of her own and is attempting to find her missing father Dr. Litvenko (Ciaran Hinds). To complicate matters, CIA agent John Smith (Zachary Quinto) is hot on the trail of Agent 47, trying to stop him from carrying out any more missions.
It’s really unfortunate that Hitman: Agent 47 fell into this cookie cutter action movie machine. The actors in the film are pretty good but the screenplay (penned by Michael Finch and Skip Woods) is utter crap. Rupert Friend is a highly capable English actor who has provided superb supporting roles in films like last year’s phenomenal Starred Up and 2005’s Pride & Prejudice. Zachary Quinto gives a charged performance here but he’s fared much better in the rebooted Star Trek films and of course television’s Heroes. Veteran thespian Ciaran Hinds classes things up a bit in this film but sadly, cannot save it as a whole and the beautiful Hannah Ware provides some much appreciated eye candy.
Typically, films based on video games tend to be poor representations of the source material and this is really too bad because there are many video games out there with great stories and stellar action. Hitman is a fine video game franchise but the studio executives behind the 2007 film and this one didn’t seem to understand that the transition needed a little more attention, perhaps some input from the original game creators. Films like Doom and Max Payne are loud, flashy and utterly stupid films based on smart and truly entertaining games. The video game movie is something audiences can typically gobble up but when they are produced cheaply and without the proper care and attention they deserve, they will soon fall into obscurity and end up slapping viewers in the face. Hitman: Agent 47 is a poor excuse for a movie and an even poorer excuse for a video game-adapted film. While the actors within are mostly quite strong, the movie itself is anything but.