Editor’s Notes: Hitman: Agent 47 is currently open in wide theatrical release.
All who possess the slightest inkling of enthusiasm for film know of the horrible, otherworldly awful, terrible history associated with video game adaptations. This sub-genre is home to nothing but boredom, pain, and hatred. Every so often, however, there is a glimmer of hope in a new project. Rumblings of a passionate crew behind a soon-to-be released adaptation inspire excitement among fanbases and filmgoers alike. “Maybe this time, it’ll be different, the first great video game movie,” we think. And sometimes, the result minimally fulfills one of those promises, managing to be different. Consider Need For Speed, a serviceable action movie but nothing more.
What we have here is Hollywood’s latest failed attempt at a franchise, complete with an ending that only exists to set up a sequel and make fans of the source material briefly forget they’re watching trash.
The script for his latest is just as devoid of life, energy, or creative structuring, and disappoints on all fronts.
If that sounds messy to you, it’s because the whole damn film is. There’s an incredible lack of coherence in its script, but that makes a lot of sense when you take a look at its writer. His name is Skip Woods. He’s written such masterpieces as The A-Team, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Sabotage, A Good Day to Die Hard, and wouldn’t you know it, 2007’s Hitman. Now, nothing in this review is being said about the guy personally. He very well may be a nice person who isn’t aware of or ignores the negative reception his work receives. But, that doesn’t change the fact that his scripts drag talented casts and crews through the mud, nearly always resulting in horrible films. The script for his latest is just as devoid of life, energy, or creative structuring, and disappoints on all fronts.
Agent 47 is a character designed to be stoic and quiet, a blast to control onscreen, not observe. Watching him in Hitman: Agent 47 is the opposite of a blast, despite Rupert Friend’s efforts to make him enjoyable. There are moments where these efforts break through the awful exposition he’s forced to spew, but they’re few and far between. Hannah Ware does what she can with her cheesy retorts, being watchable but never atrocious. Zachary Quinto, on the other hand, tries and fails to be an imposing villain with laughable results. These three seem like they could make something competent together, but not using the material they’re saddled with. The only moments of solace in the entire film are found in dumb moments of action, lacking in stakes but delivering on a minimal sense of scale and inventiveness.
But when the good and the bad are combined, what we’re left with is something that offers no reward for the price of admission. It’s a toxic experience to watch Hitman: Agent 47, and one you should avoid at all costs.
When the good and the bad are combined, what we're left with is something that offers no reward for the price of admission. It's a toxic experience to watch Hitman: Agent 47, and one you should avoid at all costs.