Monday, 31 August 2015

Hitman: Agent 47: Film Review

Hitman: Agent 47: Film Review

Cast: Rupert Friend, Hannah Ware, Zachary Quinto
Director: Aleksander Bach

The pantheon of video games transplanted to the big screen is littered with varying degrees of success.

For every Resident Evil, there is a Super Mario Bros. But there's certainly enough of them- and even more coming with the likes of Assassin's Creed and Warcraft being the big hitters of the future.

In this latest update of the Hitman series (a first came out in 2007 starring Justified's Timothy Olyphant), Rupert Friend stars as the titular shaven headed assassin, identifiable only via a bar code on the back of his head.

Raised by a secret government group as part of a super soldier programme, 47 is an emotionless killer, a remnant of the past. But when someone seeks out the scientist who set up the programme via his daughter Katia (Hannah Ware), it all comes back to life - and it's a race against time as Katia finds herself involved and forced to choose a side - either the Agent or John Smith (Zachary Quinto)

For a film that's based on a video game, Hitman: Agent 47 acquits itself reasonably well.

Despite a ludicrous premise, and a paper thin plot (including a final section that hints frustratingly at a sequel that may never come), it's fair to say that Hitman: Agent 47 follows its video game origins to a tee.

From the nod to the iconic packshot art in the pre-credits sequence to the video-game episodic style trappings within, this is a film that bathes in its origins and apes the game-play from within. That doesn't necessarily make it a great film though - and while the kills fall into the stylish rather than substance led, there are some quieter character-driven moments that really fall with a thud. Equally, the introduction of a new menace half-way through the film that's not glimpsed again until the very last moment is a real damp squib - a thread that's supposed to provide menace but is about as threatening as a cute bunny rabbit.

Friend is ok as the cypher assassin, but he works better when he's a soulless Terminator style killing machine, rather than an emoting, cracks-in-the-armour style human he becomes later on. Ware acquits herself reasonably well as the kickass Katia and even Quinto does questionable well (even if his stunt double looks glaringly nothing like him in the action sequences).

Overall, Hitman: Agent 47 isn't going to win any awards or new followers; its insistence in following to the tee its computer game counterpart is more of a stylish hindrance than an expansion to the big screen and despite some rote action sequences that are designed to showcase the sponsors, there are some moments that offer some enticing hints of what could have been.


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