Silent, stylish and deadly, titular Hitman Agent 47 evokes the kind of image that we might all desire in a faceless yet iconic gun-for-hire. Pity then, that his only venture on the silver screen seems to have eschewed most of said style and instead presented a rather alternative take on the character. Lead actor Timothy Olyphant gives it a decent try, but ends up looking more cardboard than cool. A far cry from the strong, silent assassin fans of the games will be used to.
With a paper-thin plot of little relevance to 47 and his own conflicts and a largely forgettable cast of original supporting characters, the film is true to the standard by which video game film adaptations are generally used as an excuse for another summer blockbuster.
There isn’t much ‘hitmanning’ going on here, as there’s only one actual assassination. Instead Hitman uses 47’s signature tactic of donning enemy disguises to setup elaborate action set pieces, full of guns and loudness that would spell death for any assassin, much less 47.
The real disappointment here is that while the action scenes are plentiful, none of them are really that cool. There’s no indication the man we’re watching is the epitome of an assassin, with almost superhuman abilities to match. Instead the 47 we get saddled with is nothing more than typical action hero fare, utilizing luck, impractical physics and the usual manner of dumb enemy henchman tactics to win the day.
The Hitman games offers a wealth of potential. At the hands of a dedicated filmmaker, we could possibly get a darker, character-driven thriller filled with tension and suspense as 47 closes in on a target whilst questioning his very own existence, delving into personifying his character rather than using it as an excuse to cause mayhem and destruction.
There’s another film on the horizon with 2015’s Hitman: Agent 47 but if the trailer is any indication, it seems to just be another high octane SFX driven romp with 47 as he destroys his way through another exotic locale. The first film wasn’t much of a good showcase of video game potential on the silver screen, let’s just hope this offering is much more palatable.