Non-stop action from beginning to end, with an inkling of story every now and again.
This summer has been one of sequels and reboots, with the Mission Impossible sequel and the not so fantastic Fantastic Four reboot in recent memory. What we have here in Hitman: Agent 47 is a film based on the story of a video game and the reboot of the 2007 film Hitman. If you don’t remember that one too well consider yourself lucky, because it was pretty bad. This film on the other hand, while not exactly a great film, has it’s merits and fills its role as the summer’s last blockbuster adequately.
This film is very, very, very action centric. The sound editing was great. You can feel the punch of every shot Rupert Friend, who plays Agent 47, fired as if you’re in his shoes. It made firefight scenes all the more interesting. There was also a plethora of car chases, hand to hand combat, and aerial destruction scenes to round out the full scale of action you’d expect from a movie revolving around a super agent. Action and excitement is always fun to have in movies like this, but when most of the movie takes place in some sort of action scene, it begins to limit the movie’s potential and cripple it’s possibilities. Such is the case in this movie.
With this being Aleksander Bach (coming from a background of directing commercials), you know what you’re getting in the form of fantastical action scenes. However, he doesn’t offer too much more than that or dare to do anything adventurous. He sticks to the norms of directing an action film centered on an extraordinary assassin, which was set back when the Bourne Identity and its sequels were around. You get your standard close up fighting action, fluid movements, and pinpoint accuracy. There are several scenes where Rupert is confronted or gets to confront his opponent face to face, offering the perfect moment for a tense and dramatic scene. What you find instead is a series of close-ups on whoever is delivering their very short lines at the moment, which kills any tension or sense of thrilling anticipation that may arise.
The writing was, for the most part, convoluted and unimaginative. The film starts off by bombarding you with about a dozen facts and names associated with the origin of Agent 47 and the program that created him and the other agents. With so much pretext it stifles the movie from starting on a strong note and engaging the movie goer with a great hook. The backstory gets explained again several times throughout the story anyways, so it was never really necessary. Most of the movie revolves around Hannah Ware’s character Katia van Dees as she attempts to find a certain man. However, she has no idea why she’s engaged in her obsessive search for him. As the film progresses it becomes apparent there was no real reason for her to forget her purpose for her search and after speaking with Agent 47 for a few seconds, she just magically remembers everything. The film ends with more questions than it started with, such as why is Agent 47 doing all of these things against his better judgment if he doesn’t feel emotion? There were still a couple of good scenes in this film, such as the interrogation scene and the elevator scene towards the end.
Rupert did not have many lines in the film, but he delivered them all very well. He comes off as a convincingly cold killer without seeming like a robot. He had a pretty good performance with only a few flaws. Hannah delivered an ok job at best. She does do a good job of coming off as perennially confused and awkward to watch. To her credit, the part was pretty flat to begin with and not much to go off of. Zachary Quinto was fine, but he too suffered from a playing a generally flat character we know basically nothing about.
What this movie lacks above all is the fear of death. At no point in this film did you get the feeling that any of these characters were going to die. Not that it would matter, because there was no time for the audience to ever get attached to any of these characters anyway. Agent 47 is basically invincible, and that’s no fun. If you’re in the market for a summer blockbuster packed to capacity with action to end the summer off, Hitman: Agent 47 is what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for a good story or a well written script, look elsewhere.