Hitman: Agent 47 review

Another year, another attempt by a studio to make a movie based on a video game. Will they never learn? When was the last time a film based on a game was actually a hit? Or even any good? Sadly, Hitman: Agent 47 continues that trend.

This is not the first film to be based on the Hitman series of games. The last one was releaed in 2007 and starred Timothy Olyphant, Dougray Scott, Olga Kurylenko. That one didn't do all that well at the box office, or with critics, so why make another one? Oh well, reboot it they did, replacing Olyphant with Friend, the titular emotionless assassin Agent 47. This genetically engineered superhuman is tasked with rescuing a scientist named Litvenko (Hinds) from a sinister syndicate named the Syndicate (original!) which wants to revive the Agent programme for its own nefarious plans to create an army of superhumans (probably to take over the world, or something). To find Litvenko he must first track down and save his daughter, Katia Van Dees (Ware), from Syndicate agent John Smith, who actually claims to be trying to protect her from Agent 47.  It's all a bit Terminator, without the cleverness or originality of that script.

Agent 47 is supposed to be cold, no-nonsense and emotionless, but that's no reason for the rest of the cast to also play it rather bland. There are a few decent action set pieces, but really not enough for a film of this kind. And there is far too much talky exposition, with dialogue that is trying oh-so hard to be deep and meaningful but is simply boring and pointless, slows the movie down. Friend is fine as 47 – how hard can it be to play a man who is almost a robot? – and Quinto is quite cool as Smith. What really lets the film down is Ware. She is not that great an actor, and her accent is all over the place. Watching the film, I actually thought she was Australian – there is, at times, a hint of an Aussie accent in there – but no, it turns out she is actually British. She's pretty, for sure – she looks a little like a young Angelina Jolie – but with her acting skills, she might want to consider a career in modelling.

There's a very high body count and plenty of blood strewn around the place – the video game origins can clearly be seen, which should keep the game's fans happy for a time. And it's a glorious film to look at, whihc is not surprising as director Bach is best know for making music videos. But looking good is simply not enough, and it all amounts to little. The actors are given no room to let the characters breathe and grow – probably quite understandable when you realise that the script was written by the guys behind Predators, A Good Day to Die Hard, X-Men Origins: Wolverine and the first Hitman. And there is nothing here that we have not seen on screen hundreds of times before. There is the odd moment of fun to be had, but it's more style than substance, and simply not enough to make Hitman: Agent 47 a must-see.

Hitman: Agent 47 at IMDb

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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