Directed by Xavier Gens
A man known only as Agent 47 (Timothy Olyphant) who has been raised since birth by a group known as The Organization to be a hitman becomes involved in a political conspiracy. Now he’s on the run from Interpol and Russians and his own people as he tries to save a young prostitute named Nika Boronina (Olga Kurylenko) who is a potential key to everything and bring down the conspiracy.
My main beef with this movie is the story relies strongly on people’s familiarity with the video game to inform them of the background of The Organization and Agent 47. I myself am unfamiliar with the specifics of this game universe. I only know it in broad strokes but not nearly enough to overcome information that the filmmakers fail to provide. They give some in the movie, but it just feels a little vague. There’s more information about the group in the trailer than there is in the actual movie.
I think the hand-to-hand fight scenes could’ve been a little faster. They felt a little slow. It was as if the people were checking off a to do list and not engaging in combat. They needed to speed them up. The gunplay is pretty good. In fact, the action scenes only pick up in excitement when they’re fighting with anything other than their fists.
My favorite scene is when Agent 47 escapes the explosion in the hotel. Not only is it cool when somebody jumps out a window with a big explosion behind them but they also managed to insert a nice acknowledgement that the movie is based on a video game because when Agent 47 crashes through the window of a room below there are two kids in it playing the Hitman video game. Nice breaking of the fourth wall.
I give them props for not playing nice with the assassination that began the film. It wasn’t a bullet to the chest or something that occurred barely off camera. The target is Russian President Mikhail Belicoff (Ulrich Thomsen). The bullet hits the man in the face, and it was followed by one of the more significant blood squids I’ve seen in quite some time. It was kind of like a fire hose went off.
Nika (Kurylenko) having to die was a little vague. She’s a prostitute after all and that sounds like somebody that could be easily discredited. You don’t need to needlessly up your body count in a conspiracy. I know she is supposed to be the president’s mistress and thus could out the replacement, but whether she lived or died didn’t feel too important. Her character was much better crafted than her importance to the plot. She had enough attitude to act as a contrast to Agent 47 and still be entertaining.
Agent 47 (Olyphant) needed to be colder. Olyphant gave the character a little bit too much warmth. There were too many slight smiles. There would’ve been no harm in keeping the character cold. The film still could’ve still been accomplished. He was raised to be an emotionless assassin yet blossomed into a relaxed guy.
Why do Interpol agents get portrayed as borderline superspies or secret agents in movies? It’s my understanding it’s not quite that exciting. It’s a movie so I’m not expecting too much reality. Speaking of Interpol agents, Mike Whittier (Doug Ray Scott) is an Interpol agent who has been pursuing Agent 47 for a very long time. Or at least members of that organization. He knows that a series of assassinations around the globe are connected and believe all to be the work of one individual.
Robert Knepper plays FSB Agent Yuri Marklov. He is always good as a villain. His characters tend to be kind of the icky villain type. You may like them, but they can also make your skin crawl just a little. Knepper and Scott help lift this movie as good supporting actors.
Aside from the action scenes mentioned earlier, what helps save this film is the interaction between Kurylenko and Olyphant. They have a very good on-screen dynamic together. They play well off each other. The banter is entertaining and Kurylenko in particular gives her character more depth than what you think the material would allow. She makes her into a damaged soul.
This movie seems to get some hate, but I really don’t think it deserves the dislike that it gets. Is it the greatest movie ever? No. Is it a good action movie? Yes. Despite its flaws it’s an enjoyable movie. It’s a good action film and given its setting it has a different vibe than most other action films. It’s probably one of the better video game adaptions.