Here we go again. Even though the old video game to movie adaption has played itself out some time ago, it has reared it’s ugly head above the surface once more to take a stab at our wallets and pocketbooks. No I’m not talking about a fourth Resident Evil (although I’m certain one is in the works), I’m referring to Hitman.
Now I can’t claim to know a single thing about the video game (since I’m not a fanboy) other than it stars a bald-headed assassin-for-hire named 47 who, under your control, kills specified targets. No story, no plot, no brains needed. Nonetheless, a story should have been easy to construct, after all it’s an action movie – all that is needed is explosions, car chases, sexy girls and gun fights. Skip Woods tries to write a compelling story, and Xavier Gens tries to direct an action-packed feature, but both fall short of completing their assigned tasks.
The screenplay is, at best, a pieced together hodgepodge of other movies of this genre. It reminded me of a poor man’s rendition of The Bourne Identity and to a lesser extent The Professional and Shooter. It’s a story about a man known solely as agent 47 (Timothy Olyphant). He’s been raised by a super-secret agency at which they taught him to discard emotions and to kill everything and anything that may preclude him from meeting his objectives. His target for this movie is Russian president Mikhail Belicoff (Ulrich Thomsen). But after things go a bit haywire, 47 soon finds he’s got Mike Whittier (Dougray Scott), an Interpol agent hot on his trail, as well as a slew of would-be assassins looking to make a name for themselves. And just to complicate matters further, he is toting Nika Boronina (Olga Kurylenko), a prostitute determined to crack his hardened emotionless shell, around with him. After reading that synopsis do you recognize any plot elements from the aforementioned movies? Trust me, they’re there with the only major difference being the other movies are much better.
As for directing, I’m not entirely sure Xavier Gens knew where he wanted to go with this. I thought he spent too much time on the quasi-relationship between 47 and Nika. I’m okay with the whole “need for sexual tension because it makes the man more accessible and human”, but there was absolutely no chemistry between the two. How a man, even one with suppressed feelings, can resist a hot, naked girl gyrating in his lap is beyond me – hell, I wanted to explode! Speaking of explosions and fights (gun and hand-to-hand), which this movie is supposed to be all about, luckily, there are actually quite a bit to see. The problem is that many of them are shot from awkward angles and/or so blatantly unrealistic that I couldn’t help but laugh out loud. You may not know this, but hiding behind some furniture when a helicopter gunship is emptying its arsenal at you will not save you. I repeat, it will not save you – you will die what I suspect would be a horrible death.
Thankfully, if you’re contemplating going to see Hitman, you don’t have high expectations (or at least you shouldn’t). It’s got plenty of action to go around but you’ll need to repress all your skepticism if you’re going to try and enjoy it – there are plot inconsistencies everywhere. I’m still trying to figure out why none of the assassins from this secret group wear disguises to hide their identities (how hard can it be to spot a bald guy with a bar code on the back of his head?). Anyways, one of these days Hollywood will realize video game adaptations just don’t translate very well to the big screen. Here’s to hoping they realize it sooner than later.