Monday 31 August 2015

Review: Hitman - Agent 47

World of Blackout Film Review

Hitman: Agent 47 Poster

Hitman: Agent 47
Cert: 15 / 96 mins / Dir. Aleksander Bach / Trailer
WoB Rating: 3/7

Okay, full disclosure: I haven't seen the 2007 Hitman movie. I also haven't played Hitman. This film: not really made for me. Going to review it anyway. I wouldn't normally be rushing out to the cinema to see this (indeed I haven't rushed this time, either), but Agent 47 currently has a Rotten Tomatoes approval rating of 8%. That's low, even by game-adaptation standards, but I refuse to believe any film this year can be worse than Pixels

The good news? It's not (although very few things could be). Movies based on branded video games are always tricky to get right due to the inherent differences in the formats, and Hitman: Agent 47 is no exception. The photography here is frequently stunning, and only let down by an over-zealous approach to editing which confuses fast-cuts for style. Aleksander Bach's direction is solid enough, and his cast do a remarkably convincing job considering the script they're given is so clunky it could be recreated with Lego. The story itself is pretty standard-fare for a Euro/techno/action thriller; emotionally sterile, but only in a way that's dictated by the plot itself.

But the problem isn't the editing, it's not the scripting, and it's not the story. No, the problem is that Hitman: Agent 47 is so boring. It's the same dilemma which has plagued Superman movies for years; when your central character is physically invincible and morally immovable, how the hell do you pivot an interesting story around them? The film's first act tells and shows us that Rupert Friend's Agent 47 is as close to bulletproof as needs be, and the second act explains that he's throughly amoral. Brilliant at his job, but not to the point that it's interesting to watch. Usually it'd be up to his female co-lead, Hanna Ware's Katia, or ever-present nemesis, Zachary Quinto's John Smith (no, seriously), to bring the angst and anger to the film, but these characters become necessarily less human as things progress.

So where's the jeopardy? How do you introduce the tension? Well, in this case, you apparently just don't. The film's homicidal setpieces are nicely choreographed (don't worry, it's only nameless henchmen being despatched), but they're few and far between. The rest of the screenplay consists of a lot of scowling, hand-wringing and grudge holding, all without any trace of feeling. I'd like to say that the disconnect was due to me not being hands-on familiar with the game franchise, but I honestly don't believe that's the case. I didn't expect to be moved to tears, but I didn't expect to be bored to them, either…

The film's called Hitman.
I expect to see people being killed.
There wasn't enough of that.

Really, is it too much to ask?

Is this film worth paying £10+ to see?
Not really, although the big-screen will certainly have an edge over watching this on your TV.

Well, I don't like the cinema. Buy it, rent it, or wait for it to be on telly?

Does this film represent the best work of the leading performer(s)?
Fuck, no.

Does the film achieve what it sets out to do?
Fuck, no.

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?
No, but I'll expect a full and detailed justification.

Oh, and is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?
There is. And it's textbook.

…but what's the Star Wars connection?
The film stars Rupert Friend who also appeared in Starred Up alongside Ben Mendelsohn, due to pop his head around the door in 2016's Star Wars: Rogue One.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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