by Joseph Saulnier
Video game movies get an incredibly bad rep these days. I think it’s because people go into them expecting them to be something there not. The expectation of these films to follow the rules of our reality, instead of the reality of the game itself, which is not always the same. I think that it is for this reason that many reviewers out there, including some that I saw the film with, will lambaste this movie in their write-ups. Now full disclosure, I may be one of the few who actually enjoyed the first Timothy Olyphant Hitman from 2007. I own the DVD. But did Hitman: Agent 47 surpass it, or will it join it down at the very bottom of everyone’s list? Read on.
Agent 47 begins by giving background on what the “Agent” program is: a research project to genetically enhance humans to make them the perfect weapons; however, Litvenko (Clarán Hinds), the man who unlocked the key to the genetics behind the program, morally disagreed with the direction the program was going in and went on the run with his young daughter. Fast forward to present day where we find Katia (Hannah Ware) search for Litvenko, but she doesn’t know that he is her father. She just know that she needs to find him. The problem is that Syndicate International, the corporation trying to restart the agent program, is searching for her believing that she knows where her father is. They send an agent of their own, John Smith (Zachary Quinto), to find her and protect her, though he is not exactly what he seems to be. Enter Agent 47 (Rupert Friend) who reveals the nefarious plans of Syndicate International, and begins to unlock the secrets to Katia’s past, and her own enhanced abilities.
Now remember, this is based on a very popular video game franchise. The rules of reality that we know do not necessarily apply. You already need to take into account the fact that “Agents” exist where they have been genetically altered to not feel fear, love, sadness… anything really. Genetically altered humans to be faster, smarter, instinctual, and emotionless. But people tend to forget this when we start to see what Syndicate International has done in their own attempts to create an agent. I do not want to give much away on that, as some of it plays big to the plot, but just keep an open mind.
So was it good? I believe so. I am a big fan of the highly successful game franchise. Even though I liked the 2007 film, it did bother me that it didn’t feel like the game I had come to love and play over and over. Agent 47 hits that feel right on the nose. The mission he is sent on is fraught with scenarios that would be right in the game, and the story line is similar enough to some of the plots we have seen, that the movie was really enjoyable. The action sequences were great, the story was decent, and Friend managed to portray the stoic agent well enough that I almost thought I was watching the game for a short time.
All in all, this is a good film if you are a fan of the game franchise. Also, if you can go into it with an open mind about some of the ideals and plotlines involved in the movie, you will love it. Some do not know this, but the late Paul Walker was originally set to star in the role as Agent 47. Knowing this going into the film, I could pinpoint certain lines of dialogue that may have been written with him in mind, and it made me wonder if the film would have been better, or worse, received than its current form. Sadly, we will never know.
If you want some good, if not over the top, action sequences, along with an interesting take on the Hitman universe, definitely check out this film. This is one that is going into my collection upon home release.
4 stars out of 5