A possibly fun, but mindless action romp, had it not been hindered by film techniques which hid the best of the action from the viewer.
An assassin known only as Agent 47 is given the assignment of killing a woman and her father for the sake of a massive enterprise, and instead he teams up with this woman to help her discover who she really is and put and end to the program that created him and many others.
For reason the “Hitman” video-game character has been a seeming go-to for Hollywood film adaptations. I can see why, the world created through the games is perfect for a thrilling action film, yet for some reason the two movies inspired by the red tie wearing assassin have failed to truly bring the source material to full fruition.
I did like the 2007 original despite many of the less than stellar reviews it received. There were some fun elements of the game placed neatly into the script, and yes a few others that were teetering on forced. Timothy Olyphant did a great job of bringing Agent 47 to life in that film, much like Rupert Friend did in this reboot. The character of Agent 47 felt the part in this one but the story around him was once again much too generic. With the source material filmmakers have to work with the possibilities are endless, yet for some reason the theme of the script is once again extremely ordinary and recycled.
The story-line is filled with cardboard cut-out characters with no depth, and the direction the story follows is honestly boring because it is highly predictable and unimaginative. With that said of the script, the focus of entertainment would inevitably turn to the action. There were some creative set-pieces in this one but the capturing of the action was a huge hindrance to the entertainment. The action turned out to be the usual fast-take, rapid editing scenes where close-ups and the shaky-cam technique take the viewer out of the action when it should be pulling you in.
There was a good amount of action in this story-line, and one sequence after the other, the result is over-edited scenes that showcase the same frames of character close-up’s and slow-motion shots that for some reason come just after they really should have. There was a scene with men sliding down cables towards an intersection in the city that could have set-up for a visually stunning set-piece. However, other than a two second shot of Agent 47 shooting them off the cables, the camera pans to people running, jarring overhead shots of more people fleeing, in an attempt to capture the chaos of the moment, and not to forget more slow-motion views of Agent 47 firing off his trademark pistols. It looked like everything BUT the real action that was happening, was the focus.
There was not a single extended wide-frame shot to capture any of the best moments. Something that was a theme throughout all the action-sequences. All we get is glimpses of enjoyable action, only to find the point-of-view zooming in extremely close. Instead of seeing two men fighting, all the cinematography gives us is shots of two arms slamming together, bodies hitting the ground the the repetitive close-ups.
Rupert Friend is a great actor, I love his work on “Homeland” and (for me) he has become the shows most gravitating character. He clearly tries his best in his performance but with the material he had to work with, even the best of actors would not have been able to pull this film out of mediocrity. Friend looks the part and is clearly capable of the physical requirements of the role, but the over-stylized camera work completely fail to capture it for the viewer.
Overall “Hitman: Agent 47” was a let down and while it was a polished looking film, with a solid score, it was not nearly creative enough to build any memorable moments. There were a handful of fun scenes but they were too few and far between. As much as I wanted to see this one and wanted it to be a entertaining film, I found it impossible to build any connection with the story or characters at all. In the end this film is worth a pass, because even if you do watch it, most will be forgotten by the time you wake up the next day.
– Starring –
Rupert Friend, Hannah Ware, Zachary Quinto, Ciarán Hinds, Thomas Kretschmann, Angelababy
– Directed By –
Time: 96 min
MPAA Rating: R (For sequences of strong violence, and some language)