Hitman Agent 47 is the second attempt at bringing the big baldy bastard with his big Ballers to the silver screen.
The key to being a good hitman is to appear ‘invisible’. That is, to hide in plain sight. Being a nearly-middle-aged man, I find this very easy, indeed. Most people ignore me, particularly women. Anyway, you didn’t start reading this review to hear about my relationship woes.
At this point I would try to describe the plot. Okay, well, Katia (Hannah Ware) has been fruitlessly searching for a particular man for a long time, someone who was last seen in Berlin around 1989/90. Immediately, I’m thinking “her Dad?”. I could try to feign some element of surprise but as she was a winsome young woman, I figured she was having abandonment issues. Well, in a film like this, she was either looking for him or the lead character himself, in a plot we’ve seen a zillion times before.
And the hitman, codenamed 47 – as there have been 46 previous incarnations of him – is played by Homeland‘s Rupert Friend. 2007’s Hitman movie failure was led by Justified‘s Timothy Olyphant, who looked a bit more like the original character in the games, whereas Friend looks less like 47 and more like Uncle Fester: The Early Years.
He’s also supposed to hide in plain sight, hence the costume changes to blend in with the guise of whatever security measures are patrolling the current environment, so why is he letting all guns go blazing in full view of everyone, such as in an outdoor driving scene, shown in one of the trailers? And, to that end, since he’s good at disguises in the game, why does he walk around with his bald head and barcode on display so damn often?
A lot of the Hitman games are spent walking around being quiet, or waiting for baddies to move away so you can pass through undetected, but since that would make an incredibly dull (if accurate) film, some of that is replaced with sub-par Jason Bourne-style martial arts and fisticuffs antics. Hence, this is mostly nothing to do with how the game is meant to play out. Note, I said “some of that” time is filled that way. The rest of it IS filled with lots of nothing happening, or 47 talking – exactly like he does NOT do in the games.
Ciaran Hinds, whose character is responsible for the whole “Agent” program, looks eternally baffled as to how he’s ended up signing on the dotted line to star in this, with similar for Zachary Quinto, yet his is more a look of anger. In fact, everyone’s throwing themselves round a lot, except for Le Clerq (Thomas Kretschmann), who sits atop of Syndicate International (or whatever they’re called), the home of all this Agent palaver, whereas in the 2007 movie, it was “The Organisation”.
And where I thought they’d dumped the voice of Diana, who calls 47 up at the start of each mission to brief him in full, she is here after all. The 2007 movie had a voice that sounded like a female stilted Stephen Hawking, totally unlike the videogames voice of Vivienne McKee, something akin to the original Miss Moneypenny. Here, she’s played by Independence Day: Resurgence‘s Angelababy.
videogames rarely work on the big screen as you’d rather take control of the characters than watch them run about. Next year, we’re having to suffer Michael Fassbender in Assassins Creed.
If you do go to see this at the cinema, however, note that there’s a brief early mid-credits scene, so stay seated!!
And one thing I’ll wrap a spoiler tag around…
Oh, and just when I thought that the Odeon had finally got it sorted about NOT shoving the lights on when the credits are still running, they then DID to this! GRRRR!!! A complaint will be going in again!
Hitman Agent 47 is out in cinemas now, and can be pre-ordered on Blu-ray and DVD. Ignore the “December 31st 2016” date on Amazon, as I type. That’s just a placeholder date. Expect it out in time for *this* Christmas. Also click on the poster for the full-size image.
Running time: 96 minutes
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Format: 2.35:1 (Anamorphic Master Scope; ARRIRAW (2.8L) (3.4K))
Released: August 27th 2015
Director: Aleksander Bach
Producers: Adrian Askarieh, Charles Gordon and Alex Young
Screenplay: Skip Woods and Michael Finch (from a story by Skip Woods)
Music: Marco Beltrami
Agent 47: Rupert Friend
Katia: Hannah Ware
John Smith: Zachary Quinto
Litvenko: Ciarán Hinds
Le Clerq: Thomas Kretschmann
Tobias: Jürgen Prochnow
Sanders: Dan Bakkedahl
Tenement Woman: Charlene Beck
Young Agent 47: Jesse Hergt
Dr Delriego: Rolf Kanies
Syndicate Doctor: Nils Brunkhorst
Robert – Kid in Elevator: Daniel Michael Nelson
Robert’s Mum : Janice Koh Yu-Mei
Robert’s Dad: Michael Corcoran
Young Katia: Helena Pieske
Katia’s Mother: Mona Pirzad
Baby Katia: Kira Smidt
Young Litvenko: Johannes Suhm
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.