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I never got into the video game this flick was based on but I was one of the few that appreciated XAVIER GENS 2007 film adaptation of it starring Timothy Olyphant (read my initial review here). And over time and repeat viewings, I’ve grown to esteem the picture more and more (the more violent unrated cut that is). Not content with how the first movie was received, the powers that be decided to give the property another whirl. They recast the role of Agent 47 (with Rupert Friend) and did what Hollywood now does best; rebooted the series. Was second time around the block the charm? Not really.
In fact this new try at Agent 47 made me esteem the first go at it even more than I already did! In fact when I got home, one of the first things I did is find my unrated Blu-Ray of HITMAN and set it aside for another impending watch. On the upside HITMAN: AGENT 47 knew it was as dense as a sedated Kardashian, which is why it went buck nuts on the superficial goodies. I got all kinds of slick hand-to-hand fights to chew on here, thrilling shoot-outs and enough money shots and slow motion whoring “f*ck yeah” moments to carve a smile on my neck and my face. In short, when the flick was throwing down; I was getting cheap kicks out of it that’s for sure and I won’t take that away from it. The casting did right by me too. Rupert Friend was cool, collected and all badass as Agent: 47, the camera liked him and he may have been better in the role than Olyphant was. I’d watch another installment with him in the lead in a heartbeat!
And Friend was well supported by a sturdy secondary cast. Hannah Ware credibly whooped ass, gave intense looks and let her sexy Brit accent gap the rest. Much to my enjoyment; Zachary Quinto helped himself to many a slices of scenery pie to chew on! And any movie that gives the great Jürgen Prochnow a cameo wins some point from this twat. Add to all that an easy pace, one action sequence having to do with harpoons which I found mucho inventive (if not too short) and enough point-blank shots to the head to make John Wick look up and notice and you get vacuous fluff; one that stroked me right when on the move. But what happened when the film stopped blowing shit up and focused on its story/characters? Aye, there’s the rub.
What posed as story here was basically elements from The Terminator, Universal Soldier, and T2 all tossed in a blender with little to no effort to make sense of it all for the viewer. Now I got the gist of what was going on; but the film didn’t help me “get it” that’s for sure. And don’t get me started on its choppy narrative progression (Overcooked in the edit?). How it transitioned from second act to last act was a solid example of that. It felt like huge chunk of footage got cut out (or was never shot). Thankfully, I didn’t give two shits about the story, so the film and I were on the same page on that one. Then we had the dodgy CGI that often made me feel like I was watching a video game as opposed to a film adaptation of one. And was I alone in not being impressed by Marco Beltrami’s out of the Recycle Bin score? You’re better than this Marco. Last but certainly not least, for a film that was Rated R, it sure was in a hurry to cut away from its gore, I actually thought it was PG 13 until I got back home and looked it up online. Somebody should have watched DREDD to see how a modern Rated R film is done right. What a waste...
On the whole; HITMAN: AGENT 47 had the right actor as Agent 47 and some cool action bits; bummer somebody took a big dump on the story. Was it the script? The Edit? Too many suits looming over the director's shoulder? A bit of all 3? Who knows! But something went wrong that's for sure. As-is, I say wait for home viewing; ideal for a lazy Sunday; no more, no less.