Nov 26, 2007

[Movies] Hitman

HitmanOriginally, Hitman was just a largely successful video game franchise where the player takes the role of Agent 47, an assassin for hire. The game was landmark not just in terms of the potential level of violence but also in terms of the variety of the gameplay given you can kill your targets in a variety of ways. It was a surprisingly intelligent and diverse game that spawned several sequels.

So when it was announced that there'd be a Hitman movie, I was both excited and wary at the same time, given Hollywood's history for mangling video game movies. It's a sad fact that dates back to failures like the Super Mario Bros. movie, so I was prepared for a little disappointment just in case.

Well, I wasn't too wrong in that department.

As is the way with my reviews when it comes to adaptations, I do my best to divorce the source material from the film in order to evaluate it independently based on its own merits. It wasn't too hard to do that with this film.

The movie still largely follows the basic premise of the video game series - 47 remains to be an assassin trained from birth who quickly rises to become the best at what he does. Instead of working for the International Contract Agency though, he now works for a group simply known as "The Organization," which is hardly original when you get down to it.

Timothy Olyphant did a pretty decent job of trying to recapture the look of Agent 47 in terms of the expression in his eyes and his almost trademark face-on look meant to highlt light his brow ridges and his blad head. His performance as a whole though was a bit flat and instead of sounding cool and cold it ended up sounding more flat and monotone. At the very least, the writers did try to work in 47's penchant for stealth and multiple costumes, which was pretty good.

My biggest concern with the movie was the pacing - as fun and exciting as the game was, this movie wasn't, getting bogged down by excessive plot development and not enough killing. Hell, we didn't even see 47's trademark garrote wire come out. I don't even understand the need for the pseudo love interest given who unemotional 47 is.

Overall it's a decent movie, but nothing amazing. It feels more like par for the course when it comes to video game translations into film, which try to showcase as many diverse elements from the game as possible without tying them together into a truly meaningful and cohesive whole. It could have been so much more but instead it was just okay.

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