DVDfever.co.uk – Hitman DVD review Dom Robinson reviews
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment Blu-ray:
- Running time: 90 minutes
- Cat no: 3628101000
- Year: 2007
- Pressing: March 2008
- Region(s): 2, PAL
- Chapters: 24 plus extras
- Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1
- Languages: English
- Subtitles: English for hearing impaired
- Widescreen: 2.35:1
- 16:9-Enhanced: Yes
- Macrovision: Yes
- Disc Format: DVD 9
- Price: £3.99 (DVD); £7.99 (Blu-ray)
- Extras: In the Crosshairs, Digital Hits, Instruments of Destruction, Settling the Score, Gag reel, Deleted Scenes
- Xavier Gens
(Au petit matin, BTK – Born to Kast, Frontière(s), Hitman, TV: Les incroyables aventures de Fusion Man)
- Adrian Askarieh, Charles Gordon and Pierre-Ange Le Pogam
- Skip Woods
- Geoff Zanelli
- Agent 47: Timothy Olyphant
Mike Whittier: Dougray Scott
Nika Boronina: Olga Kurylenko
Yuri Marklov: Robert Knepper
Mikhail Belicoff: Ulrich Thomsen
Udre Belicoff: Henry Ian Cusick
Jenkins: Michael Offei
General Kormarov: Christian Erickson
Bwana Ovie: Eriq Ebouaney
Captain Gudnayev: Joe Sheridan
Smith Jamison: James Faulkner
Diana (voice): Lisa Jacobs
Hitman started life as a computer game on the PC, and a rather badly-programmed one at that. While you could stealthily get about, the problem was that you only had one life and no checkpoints, which made it impossible.
This was corrected with the sequel, which was also released on the Xbox and PS2, and set the tone for two more equisite entries in the series which really immersed me in the action as well as all the quiet moments inbetween; and it was just as much fun when you failed because you could go in all guns blazing (which is a bad idea), die a spectacular death and then go back and try to do it properly. You might get the impression that I love the games with a passion, ahd that would be correct.
The basic plot is that Mike (Dougray Scott) has been chasing the hitman, aka ‘Agent 47’, all around the world for the past three years. 47 (Timothy Olyphant, right) works for a secret company called The Organisation, which takes orphans and rejected children at birth and trains them to be professional killers. The twist, if you can call it that, is that 47’s latest target is the Russian President, Belicoff, and the problem is that after an assassination attempt, he’s told he missed the man as his target, despite the fact that 47 never misses.
For overly complex reasons, he needs a Russian prostitute, Nika (Olga Kurylenko, below-right with Olyphant) – who is also Belicoff’s bit on the side, to co-operate with him to get to the bottom of it all. In addition to this, Mike has to work with Russian cop Yuri (Robert Knepper) when it comes to tracking them down.
Overall, Hitman passes 90 minutes okay, but then there was no way they could make an excellent film out of an excellent game as they’re two entirely different mediums. Also, as an aside, it’s weird that Codename 47 actually speaks in this film as he never does in the game during the missions. That’s the whole point of his mystery. Another gripe is that the computer voice telling him about his next job used to be a real female voice, courtesy of Vivienne McKee as Diana. Now it sounds like a female stilted Stephen Hawking, even though it’s still called Diana. When you do hear Diana’s real voice, it’s played by a different actress. Boooooo!
What makes this film different from the game is that 47 is now the intended target from some baddies. That said, in the game itself you can cock things up and piss enough people off so that they come after you and try to kill you, but that’s never from your own kind.
Oh, and 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?
There’s not many extras so I don’t see what’s so ‘Extreme’ about this edition, other than the fact it’s the US ‘unrated’ version. It’s only got one extra minute of content!
The film is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen and both picture and sound have no problems. The image is sharp and colourful, bringing across all the style and gunplay you’d expect as well as many tightly-framed shots. My viewing experience was helped by watching it upscaled to a 37″ Panasonic plasma screen via a Samsung BD-P1500 BluRay Player. The sound comes in Dolby Digital 5.1 and was okay, but didn’t stand out in the way I was expecting, so don’t expect a demo disc here.
The extras are as follows:
- In the Crosshairs (24:20): We start with a standard featurette that mixes in clips from the film, in 2.35:1, along with chat from key cast and crew members. I had to laugh when producer Adrian Askarieh said that for a film from a video game, you have to have “a story that makes sense… characters that make sense…” Yep, that would’ve been nice!
- Digital Hits (10:37): A look at the original video games, with chat from editors of Gamespy, Games For Windows, and also IO Interactive’s Art Director, Tore Blystad, one of the many people we have to thank for the exceptional game series, along with others as per the above extra. Comparisons are made to the film, Leon, which is a fair assessment. What a shame the film isn’t anywhere near as good… In fact, this featurette just makes me want to play the game again, rather than watch the film.
- Instruments of Destruction (14:27): A segment about the big weaponry in the film, namely: Para-Ordnance P18.9, Blaser R93 LRS2, M16, FN F2000, Micro Uzi and M240.
- Settling the Score (5:13): Not in a violent way… this looks at the thumping soundtrack.
- Gag reel (4:53): Blooper time.
- Deleted Scenes (7:53): There are five of them here. I’d have kept the second one as he wears a different disguise. One’s, bizarrely, a copy of a scene from the film but in a different location. There’s also an alternative ending and another one of them lasts a mere 23 seconds so wasn’t really worth including.
Following a short bit of animation, the main menu is static with a small piece of the opening “Ave Maria” theme running through it. There are subtitles in English and a decent number of chapters with 24 across the 90-minute running time.
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.